Multi-port switches streamline the processing and transmission of data. Switch models with multiple ports are available to support the full scope of data packet protocols. The switches can offer data link layer (2) or network layer (3) operations. Multiport switch models come in a range of port counts and provide flexibility in connecting wired and wireless components. They transmit packets between network segments. Application examples for multiport managed and unmanaged switches include:
- Streaming audio/video
- Wireless networking
- IP phones
- Network storage
Switch technology can set limits on the traffic traveling to and from a port. For this reason, the devices connected to a switch port will have access to satisfactory bandwidth.
Switch Ports for Device Connections
A number of network devices can connect to a switch through its switch ports. Once devices are connected to the ports, they communicate in parallel. Devices which can be linked to a network switch port range from computers to additional switches. A switch maintains the MAC addresses of its connected devices and knows into which port a transmission should be directed. Small business switches can be 8-port models, while industrial-grade equipment might supply 48 switch ports. Both modular and stackable switches are available, with larger devices designed to be mountable.
Port Managed Switches Support Performance
Video, voice and data can unite in one high efficiency network when 8, 16 or 24-port switches are utilized. Port managed switches will deliver Fast Ethernet and Gigabit capabilities, as well as PoE functionality. Management of VLAN, QoS, link aggregation, and other features may also be available depending upon the managed switch model. Fully managed or smart switches are available from leading manufacturers, such as Cisco and HP, in stackable and stand-alone versions.
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