How do I Choose Between a Managed and Unmanaged Network Switch?
This question cannot be so simply answered. A network manager or technician is usually the one best qualified to help you choose a network switch based on your needs. However, for smaller businesses that consist of a single office or freelance professional work, it is not likely that you’re going to need more than a smaller unmanaged switch. If there are thousands of users on the network at any one time, however, then managed switches are crucial.


Yet, it’s important to look at not just the size, but the features that you might need and the complexity of the network. For instance, security may play a large role in your choice. Even if your network is relatively small, if there is a lot of highly sensitive data (customer data, financial details, etc.) being transmitted across the network, then managed data switches may still be the most appropriate choice. Similarly, if your business frequently works with clients and partners that need a temporary, limited degree of access to your network, then the VLAN function of the managed switch might be necessary to ensure security.
Application
Size is not the only thing that matters when deciding on the right switch, as you can get switches with any number of ports, both managed and unmanaged. However, when it comes to smaller networks, such as for small businesses, the home, a single office, or so on, then an unmanaged switch is more likely to be used. Managed switches are better suited to enterprise-sized businesses with a much larger network scope, or for those that use things data centers and need much better control over the traffic within their network.
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