Network switches are widely used in places where you must connect several devices to a network and at the same time get the same bandwidth for all the devices. This can be done easily by network switches, but which type of network switch?
We know that there are basically two types of switches. One is the managed switch and the other one is unmanaged. By hearing this, you might immediately conclude that managed switches are better in speed. But are they faster than unmanaged switches? Let us discuss this in detail.
Are Managed Switches Faster than Unmanaged?
No, managed switches are not faster than unmanaged switches. But with respect to performance, a managed switch has an overall better performance than an unmanaged switch. Since a managed switch can regulate the traffic, it can easily provide high performance. While an unmanaged switch can be easier to usage, it will always perform slightly lower than a managed switch.
To understand the difference in performance, let us discuss how a managed and unmanaged switch works.
A managed switch enables you to manage the network traffic and administer the LAN devices. You can configure how the devices can communicate and provide more control over how the data transfers over the network.
A managed switch has the following features that help it to provide the best performance when compared to unmanaged switches:
QoS (Quality of Service) denotes the prioritization of bandwidth. This feature ensures that the IP data input is received without any interruptions and the travel is smooth for the priority traffic.
It is known as the Simple Network Management Protocol that allows different devices to communicate with each other. This is an important feature of a managed switch that makes it better than an unmanaged one. This protocol helps in regulating the traffic between devices and manages them effectively.
Also known as Rapid Spanning Tree which is a feature that prevents network loops that cause malfunctions and allows alternate paths for cabling.
Only Managed network switches support Virtual LAN and the Link Aggregation Control Protocol helps in reducing downtime by prioritizing users and gathering a high-speed network.
Due to these special features, a managed switch is more capable of control, management, performance, and even in security.
Unmanaged Switches are more like a Plug and play type where there aren’t any protocols or management controls that monitor the devices connected to them. Rather, it simply allows the ethernet devices connected to it to communication with a fixed configuration. It will not manage traffic or the configuration cannot be modified.
But due to this fixed configuration, you will get the same speed as a managed switch. The lack of control and performance will not affect the speed of the network and thus, you can have similar transfer speeds.
Usually, with larger networks, you will be using a managed switch to prevent severe loss of bandwidth or sudden downtimes. With an unmanaged switch, you can find it to be used with a few devices connected between small LAN networks.
So, we can understand the difference between performance and speed with these switches. A managed switch is as fast as an unmanaged switch but with better performance due to its control and quality features.
Managed Switches vs Unmanaged Switches
|Provides complete management control over the traffic in a particular network
|Doesn’t have any management protocol for traffic and communication between devices
|Can manage large networks without any issues
|Only suitable for smaller networks and a smaller number of devices
|Requires a complicated setup and needs technical skill for configuring the switch
|Simply plug and play setup and anyone can use this switch without any knowledge of it
|Can be expensive
|Features like QoS, SNMP, RSTP, VLAN, LACP can be found with managed switches
|Such features are not available with unmanaged switches
|Takes more time for setup and installation
|No setup or installation timings and procedures required
These are some of the major differences between managed and unmanaged switches. Most of the time, managed switches are used in larger networks where multiple devices and multiple software are being used.
Unmanaged switches are used for smaller networks and IoT devices. It is best for creating a smart home network and doesn’t require any kind of technical knowledge for installation.
Also, the performance of managed switches is higher when compared to unmanaged switches due to the presence of control, management, and quality.
So, the user might choose between the two as per their requirements and get more efficient with networking.
Pros and Cons of Managed Switches
|Better control over traffic between the devices and network
|Requires technical skills for setting up
|Enables you to configure as per the networking requirements
|Needs extensive configuration from experienced personnel
|Involves many management protocols for higher performance
|Switch hardware can be expensive
|Highly efficient in networks having a large number of devices and software applications
|Overkill for home or personal uses
|Better performance in all kinds of networks
|Takes more time for installation and setup
|Highly secure when compared to other switch types
Pros and Cons of Unmanaged Switches
|Easier setup and installation
|Doesn’t have any kind of management protocols
|Doesn’t expect any kind of technical knowledge for using the switch
|Not suitable for large networking setups
|Can be used for any kind of network setup
|Can be less secure than managed switches
|No traffic monitoring
|No need for active monitoring
|No options to manage IoT
|Best for small networking solutions
|No advanced features for smart networking
|Inexpensive hardware cost
The difference between managed and unmanaged switches is huge. But in terms of speed, they are one and the same. No difference in speed can be apparently witnessed. But the better performance of managed switches can make the unmanaged switch to be a menial one.
At the same time, managed switches also have their disadvantages. So, it is up to the user to know their requirements and must look into the switch specifications before buying one.