Ethernet switch - Computer Definition
A "central hub" wired to every computer and network device in an Ethernet. In the home and small office, an Ethernet switch is built into the router (see wireless router). 10/100 and 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000) switches support 1 Gbps and also 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps for compatibility with lower-speed devices. Older 10/100 switches cannot handle Gigabit speeds; however, all Ethernet devices sense the speed of the connection and transmit at the highest common denominator. Unmanaged and Managed Switches A basic "unmanaged" Ethernet switch has no user configuration. It is placed in the network; the cables are plugged in; the unit is turned on and there is nothing else to do. In contrast, for large company networks, a "managed" switch can be configured to adjust speeds, combine users in subgroups, monitor traffic and report network activity. See virtual LAN, SNMP, spanning tree protocol and Ethernet.