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Introduction of Switch Ports Structure and Ports Type
Feb 23 , 2023 1187

The switch can transmit data between multiple pairs of ports at the same time. Each port can be regarded as an independent physical network segment, namely non-IP network segment, which is connected to its network device and enjoys all the bandwidth independently without competing with other devices for use. So, do you know the port structure and port types of the switch? 

Ⅰ. The port structure of the switch

According to the port structure of the switch, the switch can be roughly divided into two different structures, that is fixed port switch and modular switch. In fact, there is another kind of switch that can work in both way. It can be equipped with certain expansion slots or modules on the basis of providing basic fixed ports.

1.Fixed port switch

cisco switch.jpg

As the name implies, the fixed port means that the ports it carries are fixed. If it is 8 ports, it can only have 8 ports and cannot be added. 16 ports can only have 16 ports and cannot be expanded. Currently, such fixed-port switches are relatively common, and there is no clear regulation on the number of ports. The general port standards are 8 ports, 16 ports, and 24 ports. The number of non-standard ports mainly includes: 4 ports, 5 ports, 10 ports, 12 ports, 20 ports, 22 ports and 32 ports.

Although the fixed port switch is relatively low in price, it can only provide limited ports and fixed types of interfaces. Therefore, there are certain limitations both in terms of connectable users‘ quantities and the available transmission media. However, this kind of switch is widely used in workgroups, and is generally suitable for small networks and desktop switching environments.

Fixed port switches are further divided into desktop switches and rack switches according to their installation architecture. Like hubs, rack-mount switches are easier to manage and better suited for larger scale networks. Its structure must conform to the 19-inch international standard, and it is used for centralized installation with other switching devices, routers, servers, etc. in a cabinet. Because it can only provide a small number of ports and cannot be installed in a cabinet, the desktop switch is usually only used in a small scale network.

2. Modular switch

cisco modular.jpg

Although the modular switch is much more expensive, it has greater flexibility and scalability. Users can choose modules of different quantities, different rates and different interface types at will to adapt to ever-changing network requirements. Moreover, most modular switches have strong fault tolerance, support redundant backup of switching modules, and often have hot-pluggable dual power supplies to ensure the power supply of switches. When selecting a switch, it should be considered comprehensively according to needs and funds. Generally speaking, enterprise-level switches should consider their scalability, compatibility, and troubleshooting, so modular switches should be used. While backbone switches and workgroup switches can use simple fixed-port switches because of their single tasks.

Ⅱ. The port types of the switch

The switch port type refers to whether the port on the switch is Ethernet, Token Ring, FDDI or ATM. Generally speaking, a fixed port switch has only a single type of port, which is suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises or individual users. Modules of different media types are available for selection, so the port types are more abundant. This type of switch is suitable for users above the departmental level.

Fast Ethernet switch port types generally include 10Base-T, 100Base-TX, and 100Base-FX, of which 10Base-T and 100Base-TX are generally provided by 10M/100M adaptive ports, which are usually what we call RJ-45 ports. In fact, these two RJ-45 ports are exactly the same only in terms of the ports themselves, but the corresponding network circuit structures in the ports are different, so they cannot be connected casually.

High-performance switches such as FDDI also provide 100BASE-FX and Gigabit FL optical fiber interfaces. This kind of interface is what we usually call SC port, which is used to connect with optical fiber.

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