What is a Switch: Definition, Type, and How it Works

Knowing the definition of a switch is very important in informatics engineering. Because there are many components that are needed when you want to develop a computer network and its topology. So what is a Switch?

Each component has its own function and role. Starting from setting up binary, connecting devices, and exchanging data. So every computer engineer must ensure that every component can work optimally.

One of them is a component called Switch. This component will be widely used if you want to create a computer network. Because one of the functions of the switch is to connect the network between computers so that they can work optimally.

Table of Contents

What is a Switch on a Computer Network?

what is a switch on computer network

Before discussing the types and functions of the Switch, you first need to know its definition. The goal is to be able to understand in more detail what is a Switch on a network computer.

Switch is a network component that serves to connect several computer devices in a network. This process allows users to exchange data and information to the destination device. The exchange of information is carried out in a directional manner so that data can be received immediately without any disturbances such as collisions.

In addition, Switch can also be interpreted as a type of component that connects a number of HUBs to form a wider network. Therefore, the switch process requires quite a large bandwidth.

Read: 3 Types of Network Cables and Their Functions

However, unlike the HUB, the switch usually works in a more focused, efficient manner and directly targets the intended address for data exchange, processing and sending data. In addition, the switch is also able to detect the destination of the data to prevent collisions when data is sent.

Switch performance is claimed to be much better than HUB, so don’t be surprised if this one component has a slightly more expensive price. The more expensive price is proportional to the functionality and performance offered.

The use of a switch will make computers connected to each other via a UPT or network cable that has a center on the switch. So that several computers can be connected to each other and exchange data even though they are in quite a distance.

Switch Function on Computer Network

what is switch's function on network

After understanding what is a switch, then you also need to understand the function of a switch on a computer network device. In general, the function of a switch is to become a concentrator that can receive and share data between computer devices.

For information, here are some switch functions that you should know:

What is a Switch Function: Address Learning

One of the Switch functions is Address Learning. The switch has address learning capabilities that allow all MAC addresses that have ever been connected to be stored and learned. When receiving data, the MAC address of the sender is recorded automatically and the switch learns all the transmission processes, including which direction the data should be sent.

Forward Data Frames

Switch is also used to filter and forward the data frame to the address that is being addressed. In addition to sending data to the destination address, frame data forwarding will also continue to a specific MAC address and port. This can reduce the occurrence of collision events during the data transmission process.

Looping Avoidance

The next important function of the Switch is Looping Avoidance. Looping is the rotation of data that occurs on the switch port only. The use of a switch allows forwarding of data transmission by blocking one of the ports that is being connected to another device.

How Switch Works

If you pay attention, the way Switch works is almost similar to HUB which allows the exchange of information or data from several devices in a network. Switch performance is claimed to be better because of the ability to send and exchange data efficiently.

Read: What is Network Security: Types and Functions

When the switch receives certain data from the connected device, at the same time this component detects and matches the MAC address. The switch then learns and generates connection logic for the destination port and device. Thus, the data sent will only be received by the destination device without a data collision or collision.

Types of Computer Network Switches

Type of Switch on computer network

Switches come in several different types. Each type certainly has its own advantages so that you can choose according to your needs. Here are some types of Switch that you need to know.

Unmanaged Switch

One type of Switch that you can get on the market at a relatively cheap price is the Unmanaged Switch. Usually this type is also often used in the office or at home with a small network scale.

Unmanaged switches have the main function of managing the flow of data between the printer and several computers and between other devices. In addition, this type of switch can also be used directly without the need for complicated settings.

Unmanaged switches have advantages in terms of easy installation and relatively cheaper prices. A simple example is managing the flow of data between the printer machine and several computer devices.

Managed Switch

The next type is Managed Switch. This type of switch is relatively more expensive when compared to Unmanaged Switch. However, it has better usage performance in the data transmission process.

Read: Fiber Optic Splitter: Everything You Need to Know

Managed switches have the advantage of having a user interface compared to other types of switches. These advantages will make it easier for users when configuring the switch. You can perform several configuration methods such as using the console, interface and the most sophisticated via the internet.

Smart Switch

This type of switch has undergone a characteristic modification, which is between the types of unmanaged switches and managed switches. However, for this smart switch, the settings and configuration use technology in the form of a web base.

The advantages offered by Smart Switch is the ability to automatically adjust and can be changed according to the needs of the computer network. So that the use of this switch will be more practical and easy to install.

Enterprise-Managed Switch

Enterprise managed is a type of switch that is often used by large-scale companies. So it generally requires large and complex components in developing it. It also requires supervision and configuration in the process.

This is due to the concept of network topology which is more complex than other types. In addition, enterprise managed switches generally only have four to eight dedicated Ethernet ports. Generally, this type of Switch requires large resources in its development.


Switch is an important component in a network. The use of Switch will facilitate the process of developing network computers. So that the computer network can function more optimally.

In short, a switch is a network component that serves to connect several computer devices in a network. So that the process of exchanging information or data can be done without any disturbances such as collisions.

That’s a complete discussion of what a Switch is in a computer network. In this article, you already know the definition, types, and also how Switch works. We hope that this reading can increase the reader’s insight and knowledge about Switch and network technology.

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