Whether a network switch has an IP address or not completely depends on the type of the network switch. Because some network switches like layer 3 have an IP address while layer 2 switches don’t have an IP address.
Confused? Well, network equipment can be confusing. Even as a network professional, I get confused sometimes. But don’t worry I am here to help you. Because in this article, I am going to tell you everything about network switches and some related questions too.
So, stay tuned to know more.
To Understand it clearly let’s start by knowing the types of network switches.
- Types of Network Switch
- Which Type of Switch Should You Buy?
- Related FAQs
Types of Network Switch
There are several types of network switches. But for our query on “Do network switches have IP addresses?” We need to know these 4 types of network switches.
1. Unmanaged Switches
These are the most common and least expensive switches. Unmanaged switches are mostly used in small home networks or businesses. They mostly connect devices like computers, printers or routers in a network. Unmanaged switches do not need any configurations. As a result, they don’t have any IP address.
2. Managed Switches
Managed switches are high-level switches. They have a high level of security and configuration options. These switches are used in big networks and corporations. Because of their full network management feature, managed switches have an IP address.
3. Layer 2 Switches
Layer 2 switches are low-level switches. They depend on the data link layer to transfer data. To make it simple, layer 2 switches use MAC addresses of devices to transfer data packets from one device to another. Because of their low functionality and no configuration options layer, 2 switches don’t have an IP address.
4. Layer 3 Switches
Layer 3 switches work on top of layer 2 switches. They can do both dynamic and static routing. Moreover, layer 3 switches have configuration options and gigabit data transfer speed. As a result, Layer 3 switches have IP addresses.
By now, we have found out that layer 3 and managed switches have an IP address while layer 2 and unmanaged switches don’t. But why is that?
Why Does A Switch Need An IP Address?
The main reason behind some switches having an IP address is network configuration and full network management. Let’s have a look at this difference chart to understand it better.
Difference Between Switches
|Works only as a hub for connecting devices via ethernet cables inside a network.
|Not only connects a device but also configure, modify, manage and monitor the traffic of the connected network.
|Only uses MAC addresses to send data packages from one device to another.
|Uses 3 layers of the OSI model and examines traffic. Can work on multiple networks at a time.
|Only does the work of connecting devices.
|Works also as a network configuration system.
|Similar to bridges.
|Also works as a router.
|Basic level of security.
|Can not be controlled remotely.
|Can be controlled remotely.
|Don’t work remotely.
|Can be configured remotely.
By this difference chart, we can easily see that unmanaged and layer 2 switches are not smart switches. They have little or no configuration options. On the other hand, Managed and Layer 3 switches are smart switches.
So, we can see that the main reason behind some switches having an IP address is
- High configuration and remote network management options.
- More security because of the network management feature.
- Switches having an IP address can connect to multiple networks or one big network.
Now, let’s find out which type of network switch you need and why.
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Which Type of Switch Should You Buy?
If you are thinking of buying a network switch then this should help you.
The type of network switch you should buy completely depends on your network type and preferences. Let me make things clear for you.
Every type of switch has its own set of unique features. To get the full potential of your switch you should know your network and needs first. Let’s go one by one to find out which type of switch you need.
Choice 1: Unmanaged switches
You should buy an unmanaged switch if
- You have a small network with a few devices. For example, home office, small business, home networks.
- You have no intentions of upgrading your network in the near future.
- Do not require an extra level of security.
- Don’t need to access your network remotely.
Choice 2: Managed Switches
Consider this option if
- You run a big network with a high number of devices. For example, middle or big sized business, mining or a tech farm.
- You frequently upgrade your network.
- You deal with sensitive and sophisticated things which require a high level of security.
- You need to configure things like Port enable / disable, Port MDII/MDX / speed / duplex;VLAN setup;Trunking;802.1x authentication.
- You need remote access to your network.
Choice 3: Layer 2 Switches
If you need
- Hardware base data transfer in a small or medium sized network. For example, connection between non-potable peripheral devices.
- Low latency and high wire speed.
- Cost effective but less secured network.
Then you should buy a layer 2 switch.
Choice 4: Layer 3 switches
Choose this switch if
- You have a network of 250 or more devices which need to connect on multiple VLAN networks.
- You need gigabit speed to transfer data.
- You have a large traffic to handle with precision.
- Need simple troubleshooting features and high security.
So, which one is the perfect fit for your network?
Don’t worry if you need multiple features from 2 or 3 types of switches. Because there are many managed switches on the market that have layer 2, layer 2+ and layer 3 switch features built-in. So, choose one of them.
If you are interested to buy a wireless router, plz don’t forget to have a look at wireless router articles according to our need
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You can also choose our buying guide on switches.
Got all your answers? If not don’t worry. Because we are answering some important linked questions too.
Q-1. How do I find out the IP address of a switch?
Ans: There are several ways to find out the assigned IP address of a switch. Here are 2 of the easiest one.
- Use your main router
- Go to the web interface or app of your router.
- Enter advanced settings.
- Find connected devices and you will see every device with their IP address.
- Find out your switch and you will see it’s IP address.
- Use an external Application.
- Search for an IP scanner in the microsoft store or app store of your mac.
- Install the application and connect it to your network.
- It will find every connected device and their IP address.
Be careful while using the second method and never download an IP scanner from the web. Because there is a lot of malicious software on the web.
Also, don’t forget to read another article regarding Will a Wireless Router Work Without Internet?
Q-2. Are managed switches faster than unmanaged?
Ans: The speed of a switch completely depends on the specifications of that switch. The type unmanaged or managed does not affect the data transfer speed of a switch.
Q-3. Can we assign IP address to layer 2 switch?
Ans: No. Because a layer 2 switch uses the data link layer of the OSI model to transfer data packets. The data link layer does not include the IP address. It includes a MAC address. As a result Layer 2 switches can never be assigned an IP address.
Q-4. How many ip addresses does a switch have?
Ans: Every managed and layer 3 switch has only one IP address default VLAN. You can add more IP addresses with the VLAN interface for management. IP address or Internet protocol address is a unique number assigned to every capable device. It’s broadly used to determine or locate a device on the internet.
Q-5. How do I access managed switches?
Ans: To access your managed switch
- First , find out and copy the ip address of your switch.
- Paste the IP address of the switch on any web browser.
- You will be directed to a login page.
- Enter the admin name and password of the switch.
- Now you can access your managed switch.
- You can also access via Telnet/SSH/Console port
Now we have found out which network switches have an IP address and why. You should consider every mentioned fact in this blog before buying your network switch. Moreover, buy your network switch from a trusted shop to avoid hassles.
To know more about network diagrams let’s have a look home network setup diagram also don’t forget to check our latest article about the networking guide
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