Switches are that network apparatus that not only increase the capacity of the network but also makes the network speedy. Latest switch have switching tables that avoids from broadcasting data similar to a hub. The IP address and MAC of the target is stored in the switch which enables it to transfer data strictly to the prescribed computer. Switches are very helpful as they avoid congestion, isolate the network, decrease collision, divide network into parts and set aside collision domains. Unlike hub, the processing time of packet is less which makes (although complicated but efficient) monitoring via switches more useful. Switches function just like hub but are protocol or hardware free and feasible to install.
Before employing switches in his or her LAN or Wan, one should get the traffic patterns. The role of switches can reverse in case the network is non-congested. Performance of a network can be defined by the utilization factor and the rate of collision of one’s network. Heavy load can increase the response time of the network and thus badly affecting its performance. Collision rate, response time and utilities utilization can be recorded by the help of network utilities. The results will help network administrators in deciding whether to change the hubs along with the switches.
The performance of a network is usually affected by the size of packet, number of nodes, network diameter and amount of traffic. Switches improve the response time and dissect irrelevant traffic from the segment. Addition of more switching ports and the increase in the switch speed can help in controlling the congestion by processing packets more quickly. Network usually halt when the utilization of server is maximum and when a number of systems approach server simultaneously which can be reduced by switched Ethernet and fast Ethernet. Segmentation of the network also adds into the performance of the network.
Network switches ensure that each system on the network utilize maximum input. In case of a small network, if 10Mbps is the connection speed then it will be distributed among a number of users where switched network provides each connector with full (10Mbps) speed. A majority of switches is self learning and thus easy to install. Switches determine the Ethernet address on each segment of the network and build table as soon as packets go through them. The plug and play element is responsible for making switches a better choice over hubs.
Switches can be used in connecting not only same types of network but also different types for example connecting Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. Switches like Fast Ethernet or FDDI offer high speed links and can be utilized in linking switches together or to add more bandwidth to the switches that encounter high traffic. A collapsed backbone network is a network that is made up of switches that are linked together by the help of fast uplinks.
Price of a switch is three to five times higher than a hub. Although switches make the network monitoring difficult but they have remained successful in resolving a number of issues.