A managed network switch is a highly-configurable piece of hardware that can be connected to your internet and LAN via the Networking Interface Card (NIC). While it is possible to use a regular industrial network switch in conjunction with software, managing the settings on a managed network switch is simpler because of the built-in configuration options. Here are our picks for the best managed switches available now, as well as some general points you should know before you invest in one.
What is a Managed Switch?
A managed switch is a specialized piece of hardware that acts as a central point of data communication between other computers, servers, and peripherals. If you are unsure what a switch does, think of your local coffee shop on a busy day; don’t you have to wait in line to be served because there isn’t enough staff to serve everyone at once? The coffee shop wouldn’t function well if the customer had to go the counter to place their order and pay for it each time they wanted a drink. A managed switch does the same thing for your business. Instead of several servers being accessible for each user, your business’s data is stored on a switch and is used by all of the networked devices in your office. The switch allows for the employment of a central server, which reduces the amount of time needed in order to access various files and folders that are stored.
A din rail mounted switch allows you to use one NIC card to connect to multiple ports. This means that you don’t have to worry about configuring or maintaining separate NIC connection cards for each computer in your office or home. You can also set up individual switches if necessary, making it easier for you to control who has access (either one computer or everyone) to specific files and folders on the network.
What Should I Look for in a Managed Switch?
Just as there are many different attributes you will want to consider when purchasing home appliances, there are also plenty of features that you should be looking for in a managed network switch. Here is a short list of some of the most important managed switch characteristics:
Ease of Use – Although it’s not necessary, an easy-to-use managed switch can make life easier. The ideal device would include onboard wizards that allow a user to use the same device they do office applications on the computer they’re using.
High-Performance – Most managed switches will allow you to choose which servers are accessible on the network. Be sure that the configuration you choose is suitable for your needs.
Multicasting – Multicasting allows a switch to send multiple broadcasts of the same data at once, in contrast to broadcasting where each device in a network independently listens for data transmissions on a specific channel. Multicasting makes it possible for multiple devices to access a shared resource at the same time (such as a remote file or printer).