A hardware device that combines a number of computers together to form a network is called a LAN. Network switches are quite similar to network hubs. Switches are more effective when compared to hubs. A network switch has the ability to detect data packets as and when they are received. A
network switch is also capable of determining the source and destination of the packet. It forwards the data packet to the appropriate location. Each data packet is delivered only to the connected devices, thereby conserving network bandwidth and results in better performance than a hub.
A network switch is hardware device used in both wired and wireless local area networks. It receives signals from every computer on the network through Ethernet cables in a wired local area network. Radio waves are used in wireless local area networks for transporting the signals. Traffic
across a LAN is directed by a network switch, which enables computers to communicate with each other and share resources.
A computer must have a Network Interface Card (NIC) to connect to a local area network. The purpose of this card is to assign a unique address to the machine in which it is installed. The NIC accepts an Ethernet cable which runs to a port on the backside of the network switch. In a wireless
network, a tiny antenna replaces the Ethernet port. This antenna is used to transmit signals to the network switch. The network switch directs data packets to the appropriate MAC address as they receive it from various computer machines.
Specifications of Network Switches
- Number of ports: This refers to the number of ports available in a network switch.
- Data Speed: The rate at which information is transmitted in a network switch is termed as data speed.
- Operating temperature: Refers to the temperature at which the network switch is operated safely and effectively.
- Operating Voltage: Refers to the voltage at which a network switch operates.
Relative humidity: It is the ratio between the actual water vapor pressure at a given instant to the vapor pressure that would occur if the air is saturated at the same ambient temperature.
Storage temperature: is the prescribed temperature for the safe storage of a network switch.
Frequency: is the number of times that an electrical signal repeats itself in a specified time. It is usually measured in terms of hertz.
Power Consumption: This refers to the maximum amount of electrical energy consumed by a network switch. It is measured in watts.
The advantages of network switches allow the sharing of hard drives, printers and other peripherals with other connected machines.
- Provides dedicated bandwidth to each machine in the network, thereby enabling error free data transmission.
- Uses an uplink port to connect additional switches for accommodating more computers in the network.
- Switches determine the IP address of each segment and create a table to represent data packets received.
- Using a network switch increases the speed of a local area network, isolates traffic & relieves congestion.
Separates collision domains, thereby reducing collisions, Applications of Network Switches, Enterprise backbone, enterprise data centers, metro core and distribution, internet exchanges and high-performance cluster computing
Businesses and Metro area networks, server load balancing and web cache redirection in server co-location and hosting environments includes: Large facilities such as corporate offices, enterprises, data centers and wiring closets, TV broadcasting and broadband networks, ATMs and ISP
(Internet service providers), Home networks and other small network environments.