Inter office network (managed & unmanaged)

There are three basic types of network switches to choose from when setting up a small business network: managed switches, unmanaged switches, and smart switches.

An unmanaged switch is the likely choice for most small business networks. It works out of the box and offers only basic configuration features. Unmanaged switches require minimal technical aptitude to install and operate. In short, they just work.

A managed switch gives you more control over how your network consumes an Internet connection. Usually IT controls a managed switch using the command line interface (CLI), but newer managed switches do have a graphical interface to use. Managed switches can be adjusted remotely, ideal for large-scale or satellite office deployments. A managed switch generally requires some technical training to take full advantage of their feature set.

Several manufactures market a smart switch, also called a Layer 2/3 switch. A smart switch is an in-between for unmanaged/managed switches. It’s ‘smarter’ than an unmanaged switch because it gives you control over Layer 2 of the open systems interconnection (OSI) model. However, if you need full-on Layer 3 controls for your small office network, opt for a managed switch.