Or fill out our Contact Form

Contact us with this form!

LAN Switching

ConnectLAN Switching is an important part to any network design, as it allows the network monitor to prioritize traffic to be sent only to where it is needed. This is done using hardware-based methods which provide more available bandwidth per user on a network.

Different Categories of Switching

Layer 2 Switching

Layer 2 switching is hardware-based, and can be thought of as a multi-port bridge which uses the host’s Network Interface Card (NIC) to decide where to forward data packets. This is best used to network a workgroup, and provides more network segments for a better network design.

Benefits to Layer 2 Switching

  • Wire Speed
  • High Speed
  • Low cost
  • Low Latency
  • Hardware-based bridging
  • Allows Intranets

Layer 2 switching has some limitations however, since they behave just like a bridge. They can create a bottlenecking problem if the network grows too large, which will lead to performance issues. Because of these restrictions, a Layer 2 switch cannot fully replace routers in a network design.

Layer 3 Switching

Layer 3 switching operates at the network level, rather than the hardware level like Layer 2 switching does. This layer examines the actual information within a packet, and forwards it to its network destination address. Layer 3 switching and routers provide the same functionality which are:

  • Provide security
  • Process and respond to any option information
  • Determine paths based on logical addressing
  • Use Time to Live to prevent data circulating forever

Benefits of Layer 3 Switching

  • Lower Per-Port Cost
  • Low Latency
  • Hardware-Based Packet Forwarding
  • High-Performance Packet Switching
  • High-Speed Scalability
  • Security
  • Quality of Service

Layer 4 Switching

This layer can consider the application being used, and is a hardware-based layer 3 switching technology. Layer 4 uses additional routing information within the data packet to make a decision when routing it through the network. The greatest benefit to Layer 4 switching is the ability to define a QoS for every user on the network to prioritize data flow based off the applications they use. If more users need greater bandwidth for voice over IP, video conferencing or other high-traffic streaming multimedia, the network monitor can assign priority to those users.

Multi-Layer Switching

This combines the other three switching technologies, and provides a high-speed connection with low latency on the network. This can remove the bottleneck that Layer 2 switching will cause with Layer 3 routing as it moves traffic at a high wire speed.

On a Multi-Layer switch, the switch can make routing/switching decisions based on the hardware the packet is going to, the network information within the packet, or the application information within the packet.