Network cables connecting to a switch

What is a Switch?

A switch is a central place for devices like computers, printers, and servers to connect using network cables. Using a switch means that these devices do not need to have a physical connection to each other.

Switches are one of the key building blocks in a network. They make it possible for many devices to connect, and share information and resources.

On the front of a switch we see there are many interfaces, also known as ports, for devices to connect to. Different switches can support different types of cables, like copper cables or fibre optic cables.

They also come in different sizes. That is some switches have a lot of ports, while some have a few. The number of ports is called the port count. The port count can be increased by connecting switches together.

Switches get their name from the intelligent way they handle network traffic, which is called packet switching.