A network switch (sometimes known as a switching hub) is a computer networking device that is used to connect devices together on a computer network by performing a form of packet switching. A switch is considered more advanced than a hub because a switch will only send a message to the device that needs or requests it, rather than broadcasting the same message out of each of its ports.
A switch is a multi-port network bridge that processes and forwards data at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. Some switches have additional features, including the ability to route packets. These switches are commonly known as layer-3 or multilayer switches. Switches exist for various types of networks including Fibre Channel, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, InfiniBand, Ethernet and others. The first Ethernet switch was introduced by Kalpana in 1990
A switch is used to network multiple computers together. Switches made for the consumer market are typically small, flat boxes with 4 to 8 Ethernet ports. These ports can connect to computers, cable or DSL modems, and other switches. High-end switches can have more than 50 ports and often are rack mounted.
Switches are more advanced than hubs and less capable than routers. Unlike hubs, switches can limit the traffic to and from each port so that each device connected to the switch has a sufficient amount of bandwidth. For this reason, you can think of a switch as a “smart hub.” However, switches don’t provide the firewall and logging capabilities that routers do. Routers can often be configured by software (typically via a Web interface), while switches only work the way the hardware was designed.
The term “switch” can also be used to refer to a small lever or button on computer hardware. And while it has nothing to do with computers, “riding switch” means riding backwards in skateboarding and snowboarding.