In the home or office, the Ethernet switch functions as a central station connecting computers, printers and every other wired device to each other. The switch is also wired to the router and modem to access the Internet. The wireless counterpart to Ethernet is Wi-Fi.An Ethernet switch is one of the three major functions in a wireless router, and although stand-alone Ethernet switches have up to 48 ports, the Ethernet switch in the wireless router typically has only four ports. See Wi-Fi and wireless router.Switches Can Be ChainedSwitches can be wired to each other, each one splitting off to other devices. Additional switches become automatic Ethernet boosters, as every transmitted output gets power from the AC outlet the switch is plugged into.Data or Data Plus PowerRegular Ethernet switches transmit data signals only; however, a powered version transmits electrical power to remote devices such as security cameras (see PoE).10/100/1000 Switches (Gigabit Switches)Gigabit switches support 10, 100 and 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps). The Gigabit standard added full-duplex transmission, which provides simultaneous send and receive in each line. All Ethernet below 10,000 Mbps (10 Gbps) is backward compatible and detects the highest common speed between both ends of the connection. See 10 Gigabit Ethernet.Unmanaged vs. ManagedA basic "unmanaged" switch has no user configuration, and there is nothing to do except plug in the cables and turn it on. In contrast, for company networks, a "managed" switch can be configured to perform various tasks such as adjust speeds, combine users in subgroups, monitor traffic and report activity. See virtual LAN, SNMP, spanning tree protocol and Ethernet.