An unmanaged switch is simple, connecting Ethernet devices with a fixed configuration that you cannot make any changes to, often used for small networks or to add temporary groups of systems to a larger network. A managed switch, on the other hand, also allows you to manage, configure, and monitor the settings of your LAN, including controls over LAN traffic, prioritizing certain channels, and create new virtual LANs to keep smaller groups of devices segregated and to better manage their traffic. Managed switches also offer redundancy features that duplicate and recovery data in the event of a device or network failure.
The advantage to unmanaged switches when it comes to performance is that you can plug and play immediately with your network. There’s no need to set anything up, and it has in-built QoS services to ensure its working well. With a managed switch, however, you can prioritize channels at will, ensuring that you get the best performance where you need it. Furthermore, features like Priority SNMP, which allow for remote troubleshooting of the network, also make it even easier to check for any issues impacting that performance, allowing you to implement fixes if necessary.
The Differences Between Managed and Unmanaged Network Switches
On a basic level, an unmanaged switch allows you to immediately plug-and-play devices into your network, while a managed switch allows for greater control over it. However, the differences go deeper, so it’s time to look at the features, performance, security, cost, and application of each.