Layer 2 Switch and Layer 3 Switch Which Switch to choose?

What is a Switch?

A switch is a device used to connect several devices in a local network. The switch allows communication between them and the exchange of information and resources.

There are different types of switches, two of the most common are Layer 2 switches and Layer 3 switches. These designations refer to the operating levels and processing capacity of the switches in relation to the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) reference model.

The choice between a Layer 2 and a Layer 3 switch will depend on the specific needs of the network and the functions required for its proper operation. A Layer 2 switch focuses on communication within a local network using MAC addresses, while a Layer 3 switch goes further and can perform routing between networks using IP addresses.

Layer 2 vs. Layer 3 Switch: Features and Differences

– Layer 2 Switch

A Layer 2 switch (also known as a data link level switch) is used to connect network devices in a LAN (local area network). Its primary function is to send and receive data frames between devices on the same local network. Layer 2 switches use the MAC address of a device to determine which port to send a data frame to.

– Layer 3 Switch

A Layer 3 switch (also known as a network level switch) is used to route data packets between different networks. Layer 3 switches are able to analyse data packets to determine the best network path to send them to their final destination. These switches use IP addresses to make routing decisions.

The main difference between a layer 2 switch and a layer 3 switch is their ability to operate at different layers of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model. While a layer 2 switch focuses on the data link level, a layer 3 switch operates at the network level.

When to choose a Layer 2 switch and a Layer 3 switch?


Characteristics Layer 2 switch Layer 3 switch
Principal function Connect devices on a LAN Route data packets between different networks
OSI model layer Layer 2 (data link layer) Layer 3 (network layer)
Addresses used MAC addresses IP addresses
Make decisions of Destination port based on MAC address Network route based on IP address
Traffic management Congestion control and loop prevention Congestion control, loop prevention and QoS (quality of service)
Scalability Limited due to the size of the LAN Higher, due to the ability to route between networks
Security Limited as all devices can be accessed on the same LAN Increased, due to the ability to filter and control traffic between networks
Cost Minor, due to its simplicity and limited functionality Higher, due to its routing capability and advanced functionality

Network Switch Applications for IoT

  • Connect IoT devices: Switches can be used to connect and manage IoT devices on a network. With the number of devices expected to be connected, switches must be able to handle large amounts of traffic and provide high availability.
  • Real-time data processing : To process large amounts of data in real time, which is essential in IoT applications such as temperature control, lighting, etc.
  • Improved energy efficiency : To optimize the energy consumption of IoT devices. This can be accomplished by turning devices on or off as needed, and by allocating resources based on power consumption.

Network switch applications in different verticals.

La elección entre un switch de capa 2 o uno de capa 3 dependerá de los requisitos específicos de la red y las necesidades de cada industria.

The choice between a Layer 2 or a Layer 3 switch will depend on the specific requirements of the network and the needs of each industry.

– Data Center

Layer 2 switch:

  • Connection of servers and network storage devices.
  •  Segmentation of virtual networks (VLAN) for greater security and efficiency.

Layer 3 switch:

  • Implementation of virtualization and cloud technologies.
  • Traffic control and packet prioritization to ensure optimal network performance.

– Industry 4.0

Layer 2 switch:

  • Connection of IoT devices, sensors and actuators in industrial environments.
  • Communication and control of machines and automated systems.

Layer 3 switch:

  • Remote supervision and management of processes and production lines.
  • Implementation of industrial Ethernet networks to improve efficiency and monitoring.

– Transport

Layer 2 switch:

  • Communication systems in public and private transport.
  • Connection of security cameras and video surveillance systems.

Layer 3 switch:

  • Traffic control and intelligent signage.
  • Network management for vehicle fleets and logistics.

– Energy

Layer 2 switch:

  • Monitoring and control of energy distribution networks.
  • Integration of smart meters and energy management systems.

Layer 3 switch:

  • Communication between power generation and distribution devices.
  • Implementation of smart grids for efficient energy management.

Which switch to choose? 

The choice between a Layer 2 or a Layer 3 switch will depend on the specific requirements of the network and the needs of each industry.

At Matrix Electrónica we are specialists and we can help you choose the type of switch you need. Contact us and we will find the best switch option on the market for your specific needs

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Managed Switch vs Unmanageable Switch Which Switch to choose?

Managed Switch vs. Unmanageable Switch which Switch to choose?

Managed Switch vs Unmanaged Switch

What is a Switch?

switch is a device used to connect various devices in a local network.

The switch allows communication between them and the exchange of information and resources: software, network documents and peripherals such as printers and scanners.

There are several types and models of switches, depending on the size of our network we must choose the number of available ports that the switch will have. There are models with 8 network ports, 16, 24, 48… and in different formats, desktop, DIN rail, 19″ rack or wallmount.

Whether a switch is “Managed” or “Unmanaged” will directly influence the performance of the equipment and the network. These are the two types of switches and their main characteristics.

Managed Switch vs Unmanaged Switch: Characteristics and differences

Unmanaged switch

An unmanaged or unmanaged switch , is commonly known as “plug-and-play”, it is connected to the power supply, the different equipment on the network is connected by cable and they can automatically communicate with each other without any type of configuration. extra.
These unmanaged switches are not HUBS, since the main difference between them is that an unmanaged switch does have a predefined configuration that cannot be modified but allows data packets to be identified and sent to the appropriate device.

An unmanaged switch will be used for use in environments where we will locally connect a small number of devices via Ethernet that need a stable and efficient connection without additional configurations.

Managed switch

manageable or managed switch comes with a basic configuration that will allow us to connect our devices quickly and easily, as if it were an unmanaged switch.
In this type of switch we find more advanced configurations and different network layers such as “Layer 2” or “Layer 3”. Network monitoring is easier, with a much higher level of detail. Therefore we have greater control of what happens between the different computers that we have connected to the same network.

In the manageable switch , we can configure the different ports individually or in groups with the specific characteristics that we want to define. We can create subnets, route traffic, create packet blocking rules, etc.

When to choose a managed and unmanaged switch?


Characteristics VLANs, redundancy, DHCP snooping, port mirroring, QoS, SNMP, etc. Factory default settings.
Performance Highly configurable, defined traffic control with custom parameters. Allows remote management and incidents. Plug and play. Allows QoS settings.
Security Security protocols for data, management and control. Physical security only
Cost Higher purchase price, installation and maintenance Less costs
Applications Large networks with more than three nodes. IT companies, data centers, public buildings, etc. Small networks in homes, offices, laboratories, SMEs, stores, surveillance or for host expansion, etc.

Which switch to choose? 

Once we have seen the main differences between Manageable Switch vs. Non-Manageable Switch , we can be more clear about what type of switch we should choose.

For the choice of a type of switch it is very important to know and understand what the needs and requirements of our network are.

At Matrix Electrónica we are specialists and we can help you choose the type of switch you need. Contact us and we will find the best switch option on the market for your specific needs.

Let’s get into the history of innovation.

Development of IoT solutions. Manufacture and distribution of modules and electronic equipment.

IoT Routers | IoT Modems | Industrial Networking | Embedded Computing | Wireless IoT | Sensors | LED Lighting


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