In many cases, network managers have to choose the most suitable network switches to ensure the whole network system goes well. But, how to choose a suitable switch for the practical network demand? Managed and unmanaged, which one is right for you? Before you make a decision, you can ask yourself a couple of questions first.
Where do you want to deploy the switch?
If you are to make a purchase for your home network and just want to get the home network worked normally without spending much time on management, then plug-and-play unmanaged switches are the best fit for them. If you want to have more control over home network and pay more attention to privacy security, choosing a managed switch for home use is much better.
For businesses, no matter in large or mid-sized or small-sized enterprises, security is of great importance. Managed switches prevent unauthorized access in case of deliberate attacks with security protocols. Meanwhile, the intense workloads and high amounts of traffic are the distinctive features of enterprise networks, managed switches obviously take a good position.
How many users or devices need to connect to the network?
For smaller businesses or homes networks that do not have many connections or much traffic to handle, unmanaged switch is a good choice as it is cost-effective without advanced features that managed switches feature, like VLAN (for separating network traffic).
But if there is multiple traffic to handle in the network at any one time, then a managed switch is a great choice for its advanced features. Except for VLAN we just mentioned about, there are also redundancy, ACLs and STP, which can avoid downtime and data loss leading to serious financial problems. With STP supporting, even if under the circumstances of a link or cable failure, it provides an alternative path for traffic.
Do you need to control network traffic?
If your answer is Yes, a managed switch is your choice, it allows you to manage, configure, and monitor the settings of LAN, including controls over LAN traffic, prioritizing certain channels, and creating VLAN, which can separate the traffic of different users to ensure their respective information security.
Do you have professionals?
The answer to this question makes a difference for enterprise businesses. If there are professionals in your company or you are quite familiar with switching configuration and maintenance, you can put managed switches in consideration. That’s because managed switches are advanced equipment that need pro-configurations and regular maintenance. If not, then it’s better to choose unmanaged ones.
What are these switches used for?
Do you want to use it to expand the network capacity or just need more ports for your devices connecting to edge switches? The former indicates you need a managed switch, which can provide high-speed links and a higher capacity. While the latter is better to deploy unmanaged switches to satisfy your needs because they provide available ports the same as managed switches but with a lower price.