Smart Switch vs Managed Switch: What’s the True Difference?

Ethernet switches can be regarded as the “brain” of a network. In today’s market of network switches, there are mainly three types of Ethernet switches managed switch, smart switch and an unmanaged switch. Like the discussion about managed vs unmanaged switch, the topic of “smart switch vs managed switch” is also be discussed heatedly. Then what’s the true difference between a smart switch and managed switch? Let’s have a further look.

Smart Switch vs Managed Switch: Differences lies in Definition
What Is a Smart Switch?

A smart switch provides basic managed switch features such as QoS, security, and web management. Usually, smart switches are managed via a web browser, which provides intuitive guidance for users to manage their networks. If there is no advanced applications needed, the smart switch is an optimal solution for simple applications like small and mid-sized business networks.

What Is a Managed Switch?

Managed switch, such as FS S3800-24T24S stackable managed switch, is designed to work for large data center and enterprise networks. Generally speaking, the managed switch has a serial port which allows recovery from misconfiguration with minimal downtime. And managed switches have more intelligent functions like port mirroring and monitoring management, which enables users to prioritize network traffic and get high degree control of their networks.


Smart Switch vs Managed Switch: What’s the True Difference?

Differences between a smart switch and managed switch have got much attention in both technical forums and communities. Why so many guys are confused with smart switch and managed switch? In the market, to propagate their network switch, many vendors use different terms like the smart switch, smart managed switch, web-smart switch to define their switches, which cause troubles for users to understand these terms. Here are some obvious differences between a smart switch and managed switch.


If you search online and you will find that most smart switches in the market are slightly crippled versions of managed switches with no CLI or telnet functions. And the price seems to be the biggest difference, especially among brand switches like Cisco managed switch and HP managed the switch. While some third vendors still supply self-developed managed network switches at a low price.


Working performance is an important factor to consider when users choose between a smart switch and managed switch. Because most managed switches can be accessed by command line interface via an RS-232C console port and telnet and/or SSH session, and often a web GUI. While the so-called smart switches often lack a console port, and they may not support telnet, SSH, though they have a web GUI. In addition, smart switches usually have a limited selection of advanced management, the poorer scope of configuration flexibility and little to no security features.


Smart switch vs managed switch, the differences do exist. Regardless of which type of network switch you choose, the features that best fit your network are what you should consider first. If you have no limit of expenditure and want to have more control over the network, managed switches are the best choice. If not, smart switches or unmanaged switches can be an alternative.

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