Managed vs Unmanaged Switch: Which One Can Satisfy Your Real Need?

Network switches are like the “brain” of a home network or an enterprise network. Therefore, choosing suitable and well-performing network switches is an important task for network managers. For a long time, many users feel confused that how to choose between a managed switch and unmanaged switch. In this post, the problem that users care much about—managed vs unmanaged switch: which is the real one I need—will be explored. And the use of managed switch or unmanaged switch for business or home will be discussed as well.

What Is Managed Switch or Unmanaged Switch?

Managed Switch

Managed switches are usually to deliver the most comprehensive functions for a network. Due to their diverse and rich features such as VLAN, CLI, SNMP, IP routing, QoS, etc., managed switches are often used in the core layer in a network, especially in large and complex data centers. However, in order to meet different size of networks demands, there are some lightly managed switches in the market, which is also known as smart switches. These switches only have part capabilities of managed switches. When users have limited costs and do not need all the features of fully managed switch, smart switch offers them an optimal alternative.

Unmanaged Switch

Compared with managed switches, unmanaged switches seem to be more “brainless”. They are a type of plug & play Ethernet network switch. What users need to do is to plug them in and wait them to work. Because unmanaged switches require no configuration at all. Therefore, when users need a few ports on their home or in a conference room, unmanaged switch can be used as a simple desktop switch to satisfy their demand.

Managed vs Unmanaged Switch: What's the Difference?

There are various types of managed and unmanaged switches in the market like Cisco managed/unmanaged switches, Netgear managed/unmanaged switch, HP managed switches, etc. And opinions about applications of these network switches vary from person to person. What’s the difference between managed switches and unmanaged switches?