Definition and Function of Switch

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Switch Is ?  The following is a COMPLETE explanation of what a Switch is, Functions, Types, Types, and How Switches Work that you MUST know

Computer networks need tools to help with data exchange. One that is often used is a switch. In a LAN system, this tool is in the form of a box with many ports connected to each other.

Now for friends who are still confused about what a switch is and its uses, here we explain the full review for all of you.

Definition of Switch


In general, the definition of a switch is a  computer network device that acts as a liaison between high-speed computers (PCs) in order to exchange data with each other (sending and receiving data).

The switch will receive data from sources such as servers or computers and then forwarded to devices that do need the data. Conversely, the hub also receives all data but distributes to connected devices as receivers.

As reported on the Wikipedia.org website  , in simple terms a switch can also be defined as a connector tool in a computer network that is able to forward data from one device to another.

In addition to switches, there is another tool that has the same capabilities and functions, namely a hub. The two tools even seem to be the same, namely many ports. You need to know the difference between hubs and switches to easily understand how they work, type, and function.

Switch Functions


The function of the switch is as a connector / liaison between computer devices so that they can transfer data to each other. While in general, the function of the switch is divided into 6 points, among the functions of the switch function you can see below:

  • Connector Device

The main function of the switch is as a connector. On a computer network, you need this tool to connect to devices, servers, routers, and anything else. In addition, switches also help to manage communication networks so that data exchange takes place quickly.

  • Data Management

In addition to connectors, switches are also capable of being data management. Everything that comes in is immediately processed to ensure that there are no errors. Furthermore, this tool gives to the device in need based on mac address and ip address.

  • Repeater Device

Another function of managed switches is a repeater, namely a signal amplifier. If the data and signals from the source are very weak, the tool immediately amplifies them. When performing these tasks, you don’t have to worry about data quality. Switches don’t change anything unless it requires a high level of processing so it needs other tools.

  • Looping Avoidance

The role of swith as Looping avoidance is its ability that can prevent data turnover on the switch port port.

For a simple example, when a computer sends data that is unknown to the recipient’s destination, Swith as Looping Avoidance will forward to a specific Mac address by blocking one of the ports to which the other device’s device is connected.

  • Address Learning

The function of managed switches as Address learning is generally how much MAC address is recorded between computer devices connected to one network. When data transmission occurs, the switch will automatically record the sender’s Mac Address and forward the data transmission according to the recipient’s Mac address.

  • Validators and filters

As we all know, managed switches will check whether the incoming data is valid and select as needed. If not enough, the switch does not send to other devices. Users can identify directly whether other servers and computers are indeed sending the correct data or not.

Types of Switch Types


You will find types of switch types with various variations. The most common are switches based on their position and function on the network.

  • Switch Layer 2

A layer 2 switch is a connector of one device and another. Direct data exchange uses mac address for identification. This type is used on LAN, home, and office networks that do not require large coverage. An example of the tool is an 8-port hub switch. Each port will connect to another appliance directly.

This type has the advantage of fast data transfer and connector. Two devices are connected on the same switch. Data is directly sent and received according to needs. Other devices that do not require it also do not experience any effects. Make sure the settings are correct if the switch is used with mac address identification.

  • Switch Layer 3

Layer 3 switches are applied at the internet level more widely. The use of mac addresses is no longer efficient because they have to send data to many ports. For example, you access a server to open a specific site. What is used for identification is not a mac address but an IP address.

This tool may not be directly known to users. However, admins have permission to manage how the switch works. The task must be adjusted to specific needs and targets.

  • Unmanaged Switch

In addition to having various types of layers, this switch device also has several types. The most common and widely known types are managed switches and unmanaged switches. But there are also several other types that you can see below.

What is meant by Unmanaged Switch is that the switch device cannot be managed. This type of switch cannot be tampered with and can only transfer data according to the default settings.

Generally, this Unmanaged Switch is used by users who are looking for practical and don’t have to worry about managing the configuration of network device devices. This is because the Unmanaged Switch is plug and play and is immediately ready to use.

  • Managed Switch

In contrast to Unmanaged Switch, Managed Switch is a switch device that we can manage or set the configuration. The use of Managed Switch is indeed advised by those who are already experts in networking.

Managed Switches can be brained with the configuration as needed, one of the advantages is that when troubleshooting occurs, we can fix this Managed Switch easily compared to unmanaged switches that we can’t do.

  • Ethernet Switch

What is meant by Ethernet switch is an interconnection network device that runs/operates on the data link layer of the OSI reference model. This Ethernet switch supports large amounts of data transfer over a network connected between computers.

  • ISDN switch

You need to know in advance that what is meant by ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) is the development of an IDN telephone network that provides a digital connection from one device to another.

This ISDN switch has two types of connection access, namely Basic rate Access (BRA) where it uses an interface called Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and also Primary Rate Access (PRA) using an interface called Primary Rate Interface (PRI).

  • Modular Switches

This type of one we may often find in PLC devices  and also  computer Power Supplies. The use of modular switches will certainly add to the safety of cables such as fiber optics and also neatness. However, these Modular Switches generally have a relatively more expensive price compared to ordinary ones.

  • Smart Switches

Smart Switches is a development of switch technology that offers multiple management and segmentation, quality of service, and security capabilities, so that it can be a cost-effective alternative to modular switches.

However, they are not as scalable as managed switches. These Smart Switches are commonly used at the edge of large networks (while managed switches are used at the core), as infrastructure for smaller networks, or for low-complexity networks.

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How Switches Work

The question that often arises in your mind is probably how do switches work? The way the switch works is quite easy to understand because it is a physical tool. For example, you create a network consisting of one server and three computers as users.

This tool is then installed in the middle as a server-to-user connector. When the server sends data, the recipient is not all users but certain users and others have no effect.

Because the switch also has other functions, the process of sending and receiving data also goes through the selection and validation phase. If it does not meet the criteria, the data will be stopped in this tool or returned again to the sender with additional information.

Has anyone ever asked us about whether the switch cable has the same components as the power cable?  Of course the answer is NO. Switch cables and electrical  cables have  different components.

Data Transfer Technology On Switches


  • ATM Switch (Asynchronous Transfer Mode)

The first technology of the switch is Asynchronous Transfer Mode. Data transfer is carried out asynchronously where the receiver and sender do not have to have a synchronized clock time.

The role of switches in this technology is able to move various types of traffic (data, voice, video, audio) quickly and efficiently. Circuit switching generally requires that the packet be set to a position in the repeating frame.

  • STM Switch (Synchronous Transfer Mode)

Synchronous Transfer Mode is the process of sending data where the sender and receiver are in the same setting and time (clock) as the destination data can be sent and received properly by both computer devices. In this technology, the clock/ timer must be correct in the same position and accurate.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Switches

After knowing how it works and functions, the next stage is a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of using switches. You need to know more before deploying and installing this tool on the network.


The advantage of the switch lies in the ability to send data to the connection that requires. The exchange occurs only on the needy. This way of working makes the switch more efficient and flexible.


The disadvantage of switches is that they take extra effort to set up. In addition, the price on the market is more expensive than hubs. Next, you need to buy some for complex networks. If the setting is wrong, it will take time for improvement.

From what has been explained, you understand that switches are important for computer networks. The pros and cons are always there because it is a natural thing.

However, those who use switches already understand the capabilities and functions. The advantages and advantages outweigh the disadvantages so decided to put on this tool.


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