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What is a network switch, and how does it work?

  • Last Updated : 05 Oct, 2021

Switch is a network device that is used to segment the networks into different subnetworks called subnets or LAN segments. It is responsible for filtering and forwarding the packets between LAN segments based on MAC address.

  • It operates in Data Link Layer in OSI Model
  • It performs error checking before forwarding data
  • It transfers the data only to the device that has been addressed
  • It operates in full duplex mode
  • It allocates each LAN segment a limited bandwidth

Working :

When the source wants to send the data packet to the destination, packet first enters the switch and the switch reads its header and find the MAC address of destination to identify the device then it sends the packet out through the appropriate ports that leads to the destination devices.

Switch establishes a temporary connection between source and destination for communication and terminates the connection once conversation is done. Also, it offers full bandwidth to network traffic going to and from a device at the same time to reduce collision.

Switching techniques are used to decide best route for data transmission between source and destination. These are classified in three categories :

  1. Circuit Switching
  2. Message Switching
  3. Packet Switching

Advantages :

  1. Prevents traffic overloading in a network by segmenting the network into smaller subnets.
  2. Increases the bandwidth of the network.
  3. Less frame collision as switch creates the collision domain for each connection.

Disadvantages :

  1. It can not stop traffic destined for a different LAN segment from travelling to all other LAN segments.

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