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

Updated on Dec 31, 2021

Are you looking to upgrade your network infrastructure but unsure of which switch type is best for your needs? In this article, we will explore the differences between managed and unmanaged switches so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. We'll look at their features, benefits, and drawbacks in order to help determine which switch type can satisfy your real need.

Exploring the Benefits of Managed and Unmanaged Switches

A managed switch is a network switch configured and controlled by a network administrator. It allows Ethernet devices to connect with each other, realizing the ability to configure, manage, and monitor local area network (LAN) traffic.

However, to meet different-size network demands, there are some lightly managed switches on the market, which are also known as smart switches. Management features of these switches are not as broad as that of managed switches. When users have limited costs and do not need all the features of a fully managed switch, the smart switch offers them an optimal alternative.


     " Also Check- Smart Switches


An unmanaged switch requires no configuration and is easy to set up. The unmanaged switch only allows Ethernet devices to communicate with each other by providing network connectivity, with no management function.

Advantages between managed and unmanaged switches.

Managed Switch:

  • A managed switch offers a higher degree of control and configuration.

  • You can manage traffic flows, set up Quality of Service (QoS), establish port security, and enable other advanced features.

  • A managed switch is ideal for a business or enterprise that needs granular control over its network traffic.

Unmanaged Switch:

  • An unmanaged switch is a simple plug-and-play device with no configuration required.

  • It does not offer the same level of control as a managed switch, but it is much simpler to use.

  • An unmanaged switch is a good choice for small businesses or home networks that don't need advanced features.


     " Also Check- Unmanaged Switch Basics & FAQs


What Key Differences Exist Between Managed and Unmanaged Switches?

A managed switch differs significantly from an unmanaged switch in many important ways, as its name suggests. The flexibility to control, manage, and prioritize LAN traffic is provided to the network administrator by a managed network switch. However, unlike a plug-and-play switch, an unmanaged switch enables devices on the LAN to communicate with one another without user intervention. Understanding the other important differences between these two network switches is made easier by the following points.


     " Also Check- Network Switches


Flexibility in configuration

Managed switches allow customers to tailor, design and filter LANs. They help users manage traffic efficiently and enable users to create new LANs and separate smaller devices. What's more, its advanced features enable users to recover data in case of device or network failure.

Although unmanaged switches are simple to operate, their pre-installed configuration prevents you from making changes to the networks. Because of this, new businesses with limited data exchange use it the most.

Network performance

Plug-and-play ethernet switches are unmanaged switches. They are easy to set up and use because they come with QoS services built in. Managed switches, on the other hand, allow you to prioritize channels to control performance because they monitor the performance of all connected devices on the LAN using protocols such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

Through a graphical user interface that is simple to comprehend, the managed switch also makes use of SNMP to examine the current performance of the network's devices. Moreover, SNMP likewise empowers far off administration of the associated gadgets and organization, without requiring actual mediation on the switch.

Features for safety

Advanced features in managed switches help identify and quickly neutralize active threats while protecting and controlling data. The basic security feature of unmanaged switches is port locking, which helps prevent any direct tampering with the device and ensures basic security.


Managed switches are more expensive due to their advanced features and unmanaged network switches are less expensive.


Finding a Switch That Fits Your Needs: Managed vs Unmanaged Switches

As the backbone or access of any network, choosing the right switch is vital to ensuring optimal performance and security. But with the myriad of options on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your specific requirements. It depends on your particular needs.

managed-vs-unmanaged-switches questions

An unmanaged switch may be all that is required for a small network with simple requirements. While a managed switch is a better option if you have a larger network or require advanced features like QoS or VLAN support. The following advice will assist you in making the right choice:

Scalability: Is it anticipated that the network and business will expand in the future? If that's the case, you might need a few managed network switches that can be set manually and can scale. 1G managed switches, like FS S3900-48T6S-R switch, can be used for small network layouts with complex networks. If you have a medium & large enterprise or network architecture, 10G managed switches will be a good choice, such as FS S5860-20SQ switch.

Efficiency and speed: The unmanaged switch is a better choice if you're just starting and want to save money upfront. Managed switch, on the other hand, is an option if you frequently need to transfer a significant amount of data.

Security: If only a small amount of data travels over the network, you would be reluctant to change the information as well, but it may contain sensitive information. Managed switches are the best choice in this circumstance.


     " Also Check- S3900-48T6S-R & S5860-20SQ Switches



All in all, you need to know in advance the type and size of management your network will require when choosing a managed or unmanaged switch. Managed switches offer more features and customization options than unmanaged switches but can also come with higher costs. Unmanaged switches are cheaper but lack some of the advanced features that managed ones have. Ultimately, both types of switches can provide reliable performance if they meet all your requirements in terms of speed, security, scalability and cost-effectiveness.

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