In computer networking, a switch connects multiple network devices together to form a LAN. A switch works by filtering and forwarding packets between LAN segments, transparently bridging them.

Relation to other networking technologies

  • A switch is essentially a more efficient, sophisticated hub.
  • A switch does not act as a DHCP server or assign IP addresses
  • Switches are often confused with routers, but serve very different functions on a network. See Routers vs. Switches for more information.

Switch Visual Example


At Gustavus

If you want extra ports in a room at Gustavus, you can bring your own switch or hub. Routers are not allowed on the Gustavus network, unless their DHCP functionality is disabled.

Check out a switch

If you're a student living in a 3+ person room with only 2 network ports, you can check out a switch from Technology Services to add extra ethernet ports. To check one out (for the semester / year), please stop by the Technology Helpline in Olin.