Difference Between Unmanaged, Web Smart and Managed Switch

A network switch is used to route data over a communication network. Various types of network switches are designed for performing different functions and play a vital role in the effective management of a computer network. With their main functionality being transmission of data packets to the correct direction, they are entities for traffic management system for a particular network. Various kinds of switches are implemented for connecting the network to peripheral devices and to ensure that the sharing of resources is both cost effective and optimal.

There are four major types of a switches. It can either be an unmanaged switch, a managed switch, a smart switch or an enterprise managed switch. Each kind of switch has its own strengths and weaknesses due to which they differ in their applicability.

Unmanaged types of switches are widely used for computer network management in small scale business houses or domestic centers because they are considered to be the cheapest switches that are available in the market. They are mainly used to manage accurate data flow between a local network of computers and any shared device like a printer. A brilliant example of unmanaged switches is the D-LINK Model DES-1016A (16 Port) Unmanaged Switch which is a high speed Ethernet switch solution.

Managed Switches offer seamless flexibility but requires expert handling which is absent in an unmanaged switch that is pre programmed and cannot be changed. These types of switches are perfect for sophisticated networking applications. They have a software or user interface that allows the user to alter the settings of the managed switches. They can be updated using an Internet based application or a serial console also. The D-Link DES-1228-ME 24 ports FE L2 managed switch is a popular module that is available in the market and can be easily purchased online as well.

Smart Switches can be considered to be a hybrid class of network switches offering functionality somewhat between that of a managed and unmanaged switch. A smart switch comes with a user interface in which the settings are set to the default popular settings but can be updated over the web. These switches are called smart switches because change in a single setting result in corresponding changes in all related settings. D-Link manufactures a class of smart switch known as the D-Link DES – 1210-28 Smart switches that come with twenty eight ports.

A fourth category known as enterprise managed switches are well known for their large and adjustable settings. Hence they are widely used in a huge company or an organization. They are used for complex networking solutions and have to be managed and maintained by network specialist. As a result of the huge size and network complexity, they need constant monitoring too. They are relatively safe, secure and error proof.

Choice of a network switch is extremely important for the proper functioning of a computer communication network. If one purchases them online then he can easily choose from a wide range of available products by comparing features of the items.

Virtual Switching System: A Switching Technology

Virtual Switching System :VSS is network system virtualization technology that pools multiple Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches into one virtual switch, increasing operational efficiency, boosting nonstop communications, and scaling system bandwidth capacity to 1.4 Tbps. At the initial phase, a VSS will allow two physical Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series. The VSS is made up of the following:

  • Members of VSS: Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches (up to two switches with initial release) deployed with the Virtual Switching Supervisor 720 10GE
  • Virtual switch link (VSL): 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections (up to eight using EtherChannel) between the members.
  • The 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections have to be one or more of the modules: Switching Supervisor 720 10GE: 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports

VSS enables unprecedented functionality and availability of campus network by integrating network and systems redundancy into a single node.VSS is Cisco validated design. It is Cisco Safe Harbor program tested and certified. It allows us to

  • Maximize network performance
  • Increase network availability
  • Simplify network architecture
  • Reduce administrative burden
  • Support virtualization


  • VSS1440:-

VSS1440 refers to the VSS formed by two Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches with the Switching Supervisor 720-10GE. In a VSS, the data plane and switch fabric with capacity of 720 Gbps of supervisor engine in each chassis are active at the same time on both chassis, combining for an active 1400-Gbps switching capacity per VSS. Only one of the virtual switch members has the active control plane. Both chassis are kept in sync with the interchassis Stateful Switchover (SSO) mechanism along with Nonstop Forwarding (NSF) to provide nonstop communication even in the event of failure of one of the member supervisor engines.

  • Stateful SwitchOver(SSO) mechanism:

A VSS uses interchassis NSF/SSO as the primary mechanism for high availability between the two chassis. One virtual switch member chassis will act as the active virtual switch member, while the other member will be in hot standby state for the control plane. Note that the data planes of both chassis are active and hence forward traffic at full combined capacity of 1440 Gbps. When one of the virtual switch members fails, there is no reconvergence of protocols in the network. The access layer or core layer switches continues to forward traffic because they only detect a link failure in an EtherChannel bundle and hence do not need to reconverge any protocols. No disruption occurs to the traffic flowing through the VSS. The VSS mechanism during switch failure is far superior when comparison with the traditional model where one switch failure results indeterminist convergence of multiple control protocols like STP, HSRP and routing protocol.

  • Multichassis Ether Channel(MEC):

Multichassis EtherChannel (MEC) is a Layer 2 multipathing technology. This form of EtherChannel allows a connected node to terminate the EtherChannel across the two physical Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches that make up the VSS leading to creating simplified loop-free Layer 2 topology. Using MEC in VSS topology results in all links being active and at the same time provides for a highly available topology without the dependency of Spanning Tree Protocol. With the introduction of 12.2(33)SXI, the virtual switching system supports a maximum number of 512 MECs.

  • Virtual Switch Link(VSL):

The connection used for communication between the two chassis. VSLs can be configured with up to eight links between the two switches across any combination of line cards or supervisor ports to provide a high level of redundancy. If for some rare reason all VSL connections are lost between the switch members leaving both the members up, the VSS will transition to the dual active recovery mode. The dual active state is detected rapidly (subsecond) by any of the following three methods:

  • Enhancement to PAgP used in MEC with connecting Cisco switches
  • L3 Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) configuration on a directly connected link (besides VSL) between switch members or through an L2 link through an access layer switch
  • L2 Fast-Hello Dual-Active Detection configuration on a directly connected link (besides VSL) between switch members (supported with 12.2(33)SXI) In the dual active recovery mode, all interfaces except the VSL interfaces are in an operationally shut down state in the formerly active switch member. The new active virtual switch continues to forward traffic on all links.

Need for VSS: The process of designing a reliable, fast Network Infrastructure is challenged by new business requirements. The need for non-stop communication is becoming a basic starting point for most campus networks.

  • High-bandwidth environments
  • Virtualization (VMs)
  • 10Gbps
  • High-availability environments
  • Minimize network downtime
  • Redundant infrastructure
  • Reduction in number of devices to manage.

Deployment areas for VSS:

  • Campus or data center core/distribution layer
  • Data center access (server connectivity)

Benifits of VSS:

VSS offers superior benefits compared to traditional Layer 2/Layer 3 network design. Benefits can be grouped into following categories:

  • Reduce administrative burden:1 active control plane = 1 logical switch. Using VSS there is a 50% reduction in the number of switches that must be managed. Time to properly prepare for a change window can be drastically reduced. Approximately 60% of network failures are caused by human error.
  • It Reduces the number of times you and I have to touch the switch and we might reduce network failures
  • Maximize network performance: Double the bandwidth

2 active forwarding planes (720Gbps each)

2 x 720Gbps = 1,440Gbps (1.44Tbps)

  • Increase network availability – Multichassis EtherChannel (MEC) allows us to reduce the number of neighbor adjacencies eliminate SPF, DUAL and STP calculations in the event of a – single link failure – VSS chassis failure.
  • Perform IOS and chassis upgrades with minimal disruption.
  • Only one gateway IP address is required per VLAN, instead of the three IP addresses per VLAN used.

Features And Functions Of Rotary Switches

A rotary switch is one of the most common types of devices found in equipments which can be operated in more than one mode. These switches include complex functionalities in comparison to ordinary switches and devices. These switches are used in equipments to perform a variety of tasks which can seldom be performed by an ordinary switch.

In the earlier days, the rotary switch was used to change the channels instead of a remote control. These switches are designed to handle different functions at the same time. Most of the ordinary switches are capable of performing only one function where as these devices can be used to perform multiple tasks in the same equipment.

The rotary switch includes a spindle which is connected to a contact arm. There are a series of pins or terminals at the base of the switch. Each and every pin on the switch is assigned to a different application such as high, low, reverse, forward and so forth. When the dial of the switch is turned, the contact arm connects to one of the terminals. When the connection is made, the circuit closes and the operation begins.

There are many benefits associated with the use of these switches. It is quite efficient as it simplifies the job processes. It reduces the cost as it enables different functions with a single switch.

In comparison to the traditional pole rotary switch, these switches are connected to the terminals by soldering them or rather with the use of slide on connectors.

Select a discreet position: The rotary switch can be used to select a discreet position by simply turning the knob. Therefore it is also known as selector switches. The rotating shaft in the device connects to a particular terminal. It can be connected and disconnected from other terminals.

Used for various purposes: Although today it find its application in various fields such as heater fan, head lights, wind shield washers, volt-ohm meters, household appliances such as blenders and food processors, it was first used to change the channels in early television sets.

Variations: There are variations in the type of rotary switches according to its operational functions. Some of these switches are operated by electrical motors where as some of these switches are operated manually. Another variety is the timer motor switch which is used for washers. The cycle selector switches in cloth washers include both the manual and the electrical motors.

Movements of the switch: The user can easily rotate the switch spindle to different directions to perform different functions. These switches can be used to control medical equipments, computers, communication devices and so forth.

Sensor and detent mechanism: It has a sensory system and a detent mechanism which determines the number of possible switch positions.

There are different types of rotary switches available in the stores today. Most of these switches are made available in the online stores too. It is available on the basis of pin arrangements and some of the most important varieties include the Double Pole- 6 way, the Single Pole-12 way, Quad Pole-3 way and the Triple Pole-4 way.