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Difference between LAN Switch and SAN Switch

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Nowadays, a lot of organizations have started to build their own network storage system to fulfill the ever-lasting demands of data storage performance. Local Area Network (LAN) and Storage Area Network (SAN) are the most used storage network system. LAN is a set of computers and peripheral devices that share a common communications link or wireless link to a server within a different geographic region. SAN provides high speed and is used for dedicated networks. SAN offers servers many shared storage devices to interconnect with each other. Aside from this local area network and storage area network we also have two more things used in computer network LAN switch(local area network) and SAN switch(storage area network). Although LAN switch and SAN switch both provide a data communication path, there is a significant difference between them. Let’s discuss it in this post.

1. LAN Switch :
LAN switching is a kind of packet switching in which the data packets are transferred from one node to another across the LAN network. LAN switch solves the bandwidth problem of any computer network and makes communication much faster in the network. LAN switching is used in network design. It uses optical interfaces ranging from a few to thousands of ports. Ethernet uses copper and is used in LAN switches. Mostly, LAN switching is of four types:

  • Multilayer switching (MLS)
  • layer 4 switching
  • layer 3 switching
  • layer 2 switching

Nowadays, LAN switch comes up with a wide range of data transmission speeds which includes 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 10GbE, 40GbE, and 100GbE. A Computer network that uses a LAN switch mostly uses a 10 Gigabit switch. 

LAN switches are packet switches that establish multiple transmissions at the same time, reading the destination address of each packet and forwarding it directly to the port associated with the destination device. LAN is also known as enterprise switch or advanced switch as it improves security at a higher level. It can also be used as an automated sequence with external troubleshooting and management tools.

2. SAN Switch :
SAN switching is a technoscientific high-speed network of storage appliances and switches connected to other communication systems. SAN switch physically decouples storage and source. It allows different networks to communicate data between various storage devices, transmit data between multiple servers, and back up and restore data in a quick way and efficient way. Basically, It is a unique high-speed network of a storage switch and device united to a computer system. SAN switch is usually FC (Fibre Channel) switch, which implements with Fibre Channel protocol.

SAN switch is an important part of the SAN based on fiber channel protocol or Ethernet protocol. This type of switch is designed for high-performance networks with low latency and lossless data communication. This allows a network administrator to establish a path redundancy in the path of event crash from the storage array to the switch or from the host servers to the switch. It examines the data packet header, determines the source and destination of computing devices, and sends the frame to the intended storage system. It can be connected to build a large SAN network that interconnects the number of servers and storage ports.

Differences between LAN Switch and SAN Switch :

  LAN Switch SAN Switch
1. Ethernet channel-based storage network Fibre Channel-based storage network
2. Low cost High cost
3. Good performance Deterministic performance
4. No guarantee of data integrity Guaranteed data integrity
5. Uses file sharing protocol Uses  iSCSI storage network
6. Less storage capability compare to SAN switch More storage capability compare to LAN switch
7. Can not handle heavy transaction loads Can handle heavy transaction loads

The most remarkable difference is that the standard interface on which the LAN switch runs is Ethernet which is IP-based, low-cost, and a good performance switch. While SAN is Fibre Channel-based storage network system. It is quite expensive but performance is very high in SAN switch-based computer networks. 

Data security is better in SAN switch compared to LAN. 
Communication speed is better in the SAN switch as compared to the LAN switch. 
LAN switch is lossier in terms of data compared to SAN switch which also has low latency transmission. SAN is mainly designed to handle a heavy transaction amount over a fiber channel network of high performance. While LAN switch helps to address existing bandwidth issues and enhance the overall performance of LANs with the appropriate use.

LAN switch is a NAS-based storage local area network, which uses a file-sharing protocol, for example, NFS, CIFS, or AppleTalk. A mixture of Fibre Channel and iSCSI technology is used in the storage area network. iSCSI storage is used to store data in a storage area network-based switch. 
The most important advantage of the SAN switches over LAN switches is that it possesses a tremendous storage capacity. A LAN can connect with file servers, printers, storage arrays, desktops, and other networked devices so that a LAN switch can direct traffic between a collection of endpoints.

The Layer 2 LAN switch gives high data transmission speed and low latency. It performs well in VoIP, QoS, bandwidth reporting. The Layer 3 LAN switch gives a similar operation as a router. The Layer 4 LAN switch is an enhanced version or improved version of the Layer 3 LAN switch which provides additional applications like Telnet and FTP. LAN switch also supports multiple protocols with TCP/IP, TCP/UDP, IPX, and Apple Talk. So, A LAN switch has the advantages of simple deployment and low cost for the network. 

SAN switch has more storage ability than the LAN switch. It can also be an Ethernet switch. SAN switch could be useful to storage traffic in an Internet Protocol (IP) as it maintains performance predictability. SAN switch is mainly used for storage traffic purposes only, whether based on Ethernet or Fibre Channel technologies. For file-sharing protocol, LAN switch storage equipment is the best choice. But for fiber channel-based storage the SAN switch is a good choice. 

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Last Updated : 23 Nov, 2021
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