A Network Switch is a device which is used to connect multiple computers inside Local Area Network (LAN). Network Switches operate at Layer Two (Data Link Layer) of the OSI model. There are Network Switches that can operate at the Network Layer (layer 3 and above) also. Network Switches operate in Layer 3 are often referred to as Layer 3 switches or multilayer switches
Basic Function of a Network Switch and a Network Hub are same. That is to forward Layer 2 packets (Ethernet frames) from source device to destination device. But a Network switch generally contains more intelligence than a hub.
Most common Local Area Network (LAN) architecture is Ethernet and most of today’s Network Switches are for Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN) architecture. You can find Network Switches of different input and output bandwidths. Today’s Ethernet Network Switches can have bandwidths of 10, 100, 1000 or 10,000 Megabits per second.
Some of the features/advantages of Network Switch are listed below.
• Network Switches are used to connect network devices together in a Local Area Network (LAN).
• Network Switches can learn Layer 2 (MAC) addresses and forward Layer 2 packets (Ethernet frames) to exact destination (network hubs forward Layer 2 addresses (MAC addresses) to all ports)
• Network Switches can control of who has access to various parts of the network.
• Network Switches have provision to monitor network usage.
• High-end switches have pluggable modules.