What is the Function of Switch in Networking

Network switches have been an indispensable component in corporate or data center networking. However, faced with the question that what the exact function of switch in networking is, a few people can answer that in a systematic way. In this post, this question is going to be solved.

What Is the Network Switch

The network switch in networking is a small hardware device that can be regarded as a network bridge with multi-ports, centrally addressing communications among all sort of connected devices, like servers, PCs, and access points within one local area network (LAN).

Network Switches in Networking

Figure 1: Network Switches in NetWorking

Types of the Network Switches

As shown in the market, there is a wide range of switches in the market. If you want to figure them out, you should bear in mind with clear criteria. With different standards, types of the switch are matched differently. For example, based on the transmitting rapid, you can get subbranches, like fast Ethernet switch, Gigabit Ethernet switch, 10Gigabit switch, etc. When looking at the configuration options, unmanaged switch and managed switch can be found. In this part, the configuration option will be introduced in details.

Unmanaged Switch

In networking, an unmanaged switch is used to achieve basic connectivity without any configuration interface or options. Just plug them in, they will work. Mostly, they are preferred in small offices and home offices environment or wherever a few ports are needed.

Managed Switch

Comparing with an unmanaged switch, the managed switch, also called smart switches, gives users more flexibility to configure switches as they need. Surely, it brings greater security and targeted networking to users. It supports many management interfaces, like Web UI, CLI, or both. The configuration of VLAN is the common application for a managed switch. For this type, 10gbe switch, 40gbe switch and 100gbe switch are the common choices.

Unmanaged Switch (Left) and Managed Switch (Right)

Figure 2: Unmanaged Switch (Left) and Managed Switch (Right)

The Function of Switch in Networking

No matter in your home or small offices, the network switch seems to be ubiquitous in network applications. For people outside the industry, you may wonder what the switch function is or what the benefits will the network switch brings about. Here, the main function of switch in networking will be listed below:

  • Saving cost. Running cables to industrial Ethernet nodes one by one, it’s a huge cost and even unreliable. Therefore, the switch can be a cost-effective choice in wiring.
  • Easy installation. Without the need for the climate controlled enclosure, switch installation will be easier and more convenient.
  • Low latency. When the transmission of network packet between the source device and target device has low latency, the time will be saved.
  • Eliminating collision. With specified ports of the network switches, the access of the data packet sent by different devices will be spotted faster and targeted transmitted to the matching devices without unnecessary collision.
Front and Back Panel Overview of S5800-8TF12S Fully-Managed Switch

Figure 3: Front and Back Panel Overview of S5800-8TF12S Fully-Managed Switch


As an essential component in network cabling, the function of switch in networking has been highlighted by many users. In this post, the general function of switch has been introduced. If you want to know more about network switches or solutions for network cabling, you can visit FS.COM for professional guidance.

Guidelines for Data Center Rack Cable Management

Data center rack, as an effective solution to the increasingly higher demand for computing power and high-density network cabling in data center, has been widely used in the telecommunication field. As a consequence, a good cable management of the server rack has been a challenging task for IT technicians and network installers. In this post, how to organize the data center rack will be suggested.

An Overview of Data Center Rack

At the beginning, the data center rack wiki will be introduced. This will be the first step for your better data center rack cable management.

What is Data Center Rack

The data center rack is a kind of framework used to hold data center equipment, including servers, network switches, cables, etc. Using wisely, the server rack can keep the whole network system work in an ordered and efficient way.

Figure 1: Data Center Racks

Figure 1: Data Center Racks

Types of Data Center Rack

There are many types of server racks in the market. Generally, open server rack, data center server cabinet, and wall mount rack are the most popular types.

Choosing the Right Cable Management for Your Data Center Rack

For a good cable management of data center rack, it cannot do without suitable cable managing devices. Basically, there are three major types of cable organizing devices: patch panel, horizontal cable manager, and vertical cable manager.

Patch Panel

In previous posts, many types of patch panels have been shared. As an indispensable component of cable management, the patch panel is designed to connect and manage all sort of input and output cables of devices, like switches and servers. Usually, based on the connected cable type, the patch panel can be divided into fiber optic patch panel and Ethernet patch panel. As for these two types, there still are many subbranches for choosing. Take the fiber patch panel as an example, you can find regular fiber patch panels and enclosures, MTP/MPO cassettes and enclosures, fiber adapter panels and enclosures, MTP-LC breakout patch panels, etc. For different needs, you can choose the corresponding patch panel.

Figure 2: Ethernet Patch Panel (Left) and Fiber Optic Patch Panel (Right)

Figure 2: Ethernet Patch Panel (Left) and Fiber Optic Patch Panel (Right)

Horizontal Cable Manager

The horizontal cable manager is mostly applied in the 1U cable management, the height of data center racks of the standard unit (1.75 inches). Conventionally, it is installed in front of the server rack, ensuring cables being well-organized and protected. Altogether, there are four common types of 1U horizontal cable manager in the market: horizontal cable managers with finger duct, D-ring, brush strip, and the L-shaped horizontal cable manager.

Vertical Cable Manager

Apart from patch panel and horizontal cable manager, the vertical cable manager is another important branch of cable organizers. Similar to the horizontal type, the vertical type is also used to secure, bundle and route the cables at both sides of the server racks. However, unlike the horizontal cable manager, the vertical cable manager provides a vertical pathway for cables from switches to patch panels in the rack system. Among various vertical cable managers, 5U plastic vertical cable manager with bend radius finger, single D-ring vertical cable manager, and 45U 4.9″ wide plastic vertical cable manager are the popular applications.

Horizontal Cable Manager (Left) and Vertical Cable Manager (Right)

Figure 3: Horizontal Cable Manager (Left) and Vertical Cable Manager (Right)

Data Center Rack Cable Management Tips

Realizing an efficient server rack cable management, you are suggested to follow three main steps:

First, make a plan in advance. You need to have a basic idea of the quantity of the connections for cabling. Especially, a plan should be made before the installations of other network devices, such as cabinets and servers.

Second, understand industry standards. Before the cabling, another important step is to catch the industrial standards and regulations in your country or even the local area. A standard-based cabling system is a prerequisite for your effective cable management.

Third, choose the proper cable managing devices. This is the key step to ensure all connections perform well. As mentioned in the last part, there are many types of cable managing devices. You need to choose the right one conforming with your previous planning and network environment.

Server Rack Cable Management

Figure 4: Server Rack Cable Management


Data center rack cable management has been a headache that has bothered many IT technicians. In fact, an effective cable management for server rack lies in a wisely use of proper cable organizing tools. In this post, the main types of managing devices have been introduced. Also, the tips for data center cable management have also been suggested.