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
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.