In a network, a switch is a device that channels incoming data from any of multiple input ports to the specific output port that will take it toward its intended destination. Switches are the foundation of most business networks. A switch acts as a controller, connecting computers, printers, and servers to a network in a building or a campus. The devices in a network are communicating with each other and also with other networks with the help of switches.
There are two basic types of switches to choose from as part of your networking basics: managed and unmanaged. An unmanaged switch works out of the box but can’t be configured. Home-networking equipment typically offers unmanaged switches. A managed switch can be configured. You can monitor and adjust a managed switch locally or remotely, giving you greater control over network traffic and access.
A wide range of network switches are available from low-end unmanaged switches to high-end 100G chassis-based devices.