Network Virtualisation: NVGRE vs. VXLAN Explained

The rise of virtualisation technology has revolutionised data centres, enabling the operation of multiple virtual machines on the same physical infrastructure. However, traditional data centre network designs are not well-suited to these new applications, necessitating a new approach to address these challenges. NVGRE and VXLAN were created to meet this need. This article delves into NVGRE and VXLAN, exploring their differences, similarities, and advantages in various scenarios.

Unleashing the Power of NVGRE Technology

NVGRE (Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation) is a network virtualisation method designed to overcome the limitations of traditional VLANs in complex virtual environments.

How It Works

NVGRE encapsulates data packets by adding a Tenant Network Identifier (TNI) to the packet, transmitting it over existing IP networks, and then decapsulating and delivering it on the target host. This enables large-scale virtual networks to be more flexible and scalable on physical infrastructure.

1.Tenant Network Identifier (TNI)

NVGRE introduces a 24-bit TNI to identify different virtual networks or tenants. Each TNI corresponds to a separate virtual network, allowing multiple virtual networks to operate on the same physical infrastructure without interference.

2. Packet Encapsulation

Source MAC Address: The MAC address of the sending VM.

Destination MAC Address: The MAC address of the receiving VM.

TNI: The 24-bit virtual network identifier.

Original Ethernet Frame: Includes the source MAC address, destination MAC address, Ethernet protocol type (usually IPv4 or IPv6), etc.

Data packets are encapsulated into NVGRE packets for communication between VMs.

3. Transport Network

NVGRE packets are transmitted over existing IP networks, including physical or virtual networks. The IP header information is used for routing, while the TNI identifies the target virtual network.

4. Decapsulation

When NVGRE packets reach the host of the target VM, the host decapsulates them, extracting the original Ethernet frame and delivering it to the target VM.

5. MAC Address Table Maintenance

NVGRE hosts maintain a MAC address table to map VM MAC addresses to TNIs. When a host receives an NVGRE packet, it looks up the MAC address table to determine which VM to deliver the packet to.

6. Broadcast and Multicast Support

NVGRE uses broadcast and multicast to support communication within virtual networks, allowing VMs to perform broadcast and multicast operations for protocols like ARP and Neighbor Discovery.


  • Network Virtualisation Goals: NVGRE aims to provide a larger number of VLANs for multi-tenancy and load balancing, overcoming the limited VLAN capacity of traditional networks.
  • Encapsulation and Tunneling: Uses encapsulation and tunneling to isolate virtual networks, making VM communication appear direct without considering the underlying physical network.
  • Cross-Data Centre Scalability: Designed to support cross-location virtual networks, ideal for distributed data centre architectures.

A Comprehensive Look at VXLAN Technology

VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN) is a network virtualisation technology designed to address the shortage of virtual networks in large cloud data centres.

How It Works

VXLAN encapsulates data packets by adding a Virtual Network Identifier (VNI), transmitting them over existing IP networks, and then decapsulating and delivering them on the target host.

1.Virtual Network Identifier (VNI)

VXLAN introduces a 24-bit VNI to distinguish different virtual networks. Each VNI represents a separate virtual network, allowing multiple virtual networks to operate on the same physical infrastructure without interference.

2.Packet Encapsulation

Source IP Address: The IP address of the sending VM.

Destination IP Address: The IP address of the receiving VM.

UDP Header: Contains source and destination port information to identify VXLAN packets.

VNI: The 24-bit virtual network identifier.

Original Ethernet Frame: Includes the source MAC address, destination MAC address, Ethernet protocol type, etc.

Data packets are encapsulated into VXLAN packets for communication between VMs.

3.Transport Network
VXLAN packets are transmitted over existing IP networks. The IP header information is used for routing, while the VNI identifies the target virtual network.

When VXLAN packets reach the host of the target VM, the host decapsulates them, extracting the original Ethernet frame and delivering it to the target VM.

5.MAC Address Table Maintenance
VXLAN hosts maintain a MAC address table to map VM MAC addresses to VNIs. When a host receives a VXLAN packet, it looks up the MAC address table to determine which VM to deliver the packet to.

6.Broadcast and Multicast Support
VXLAN uses multicast to simulate broadcast and multicast behaviour within virtual networks, supporting protocols like ARP and Neighbor Discovery.


  • Expanded VLAN Address Space: Extends VLAN identifier capacity from 4096 to 16 million with a 24-bit segment ID.
  • Virtual Network Isolation: Allows multiple virtual networks to coexist on the same infrastructure, each with a unique segment ID.
  • Multi-Tenancy Support: Ideal for environments where different tenants need isolated virtual networks.
  • Layer 2 and 3 Extension: Supports complex network topologies and routing configurations.
  • Industry Support: Widely supported by companies like Cisco, VMware, and Arista Networks.

NVGRE vs VXLAN: Uncovering the Best Virtualization Tech

NVGRE and VXLAN are both technologies for virtualising data centre networks, aimed at addressing issues in traditional network architectures such as isolation, scalability, and performance. While their goals are similar, they differ in implementation and several key aspects.

Supporters and Transport Protocols

NVGRE is supported mainly by Microsoft, using GRE as the transport protocol. VXLAN is driven by Cisco, using UDP.

Packet Format

VXLAN packets have a 24-bit VNI for 16 million virtual networks. NVGRE uses the GRE header’s lower 24 bits as the TNI, also supporting 16 million virtual networks.

Transmission Method

VXLAN uses multicast to simulate broadcast and multicast for MAC address learning and discovery. NVGRE uses multiple IP addresses for enhanced load balancing without relying on flooding and IP multicast.


NVGRE supports fragmentation to manage MTU sizes, while VXLAN typically requires the network to support jumbo frames and does not support fragmentation.


VXLAN and NVGRE represent significant advancements in network virtualisation, expanding virtual network capacity and enabling flexible, scalable, and high-performance cloud and data centre networks. With support from major industry players, these technologies have become essential for building agile virtualised networking environments.

How FS Can Help

FS offers a wide range of data centre switches, from 1G to 800G, to meet various network requirements and applications. FS switches support VXLAN EVPN architectures and MPLS forwarding, with comprehensive protocol support for L3 unicast and multicast routing, including BGP, OSPF, EIGRP, RIPv2, PIM-SM, SSM, and MSDP. Explore FS high-quality switches and expert solutions tailored to enhance your network at the FS website.

Stacking Technology vs MLAG Technology: What Sets Apart?

Businesses are growing and networks are becoming more complex. Single-device solutions are having trouble meeting the high availability and performance requirements of modern data centres. To address this, two horizontal virtualisation technologies have emerged: Stacking and Multichassis Link Aggregation Group (MLAG). This article compares Stacking and MLAG. It discusses their principles, features, advantages, and disadvantages. This comparison can help you choose the best option for your network environment.

Understanding Stacking Technology

Stacking technology involves combining multiple stackable devices into a single logical unit. Users can control and use multiple devices together, increasing ports and switching abilities while improving reliability with mutual backup between devices.

Advantages of Stacking:

  • Simplified Management: Managed via a single IP address, reducing management complexity. Administrators can configure and monitor the entire stack from one interface.
  • Increased Port Density: Combining multiple switches offers more ports, meeting the demands of large-scale networks.
  • Seamless Redundancy: If one stack member fails, others seamlessly take over, ensuring high network availability.
  • Enhanced Performance: Increased interconnect bandwidth among switches improves data exchange efficiency and performance.

Unlocking the Power of MLAG Technology

Multichassis Link Aggregation Group (MLAG) is a newer cross-device link aggregation technology. It allows two access switches to negotiate link aggregation as if they were one device. This cross-device link aggregation enhances reliability from the single-board level to the device level, making MLAG suitable for modern network topologies requiring redundancy and high availability.

Advantages of MLAG:

  • High Availability: Increases network availability by allowing smooth traffic transition between switches in case of failure. There are no single points of failure at the switch level.
  • Improved Bandwidth: Aggregating links across multiple switches significantly increases accessible bandwidth, beneficial for high-demand environments.
  • Load Balancing: Evenly distributes traffic across member links, preventing overloads and maximising network utilisation.
  • Compatibility and Scalability: Better compatibility and scalability, able to negotiate link aggregation with devices from different vendors.

Stacking vs. MLAG: Which Network Virtualisation Tech Reigns Supreme?

Both Stacking and MLAG are crucial for achieving redundant access and link redundancy, significantly enhancing the reliability and scalability of data centre networks. Despite their similarities, each has distinct advantages, disadvantages, and suitable application scenarios. Understanding the concepts and advantages of Stacking and MLAG is crucial. Here’s a detailed comparison to help you distinguish between the two:


Stacking: Centralised control plane shared by all switches, with the master switch managing the stack. Failure of the master switch can affect the entire system despite backup switches.

MLAG: Each switch operates with an independent control plane. Consequently, the failure of one switch does not impact the functionality of the other, effectively isolating fault domains and enhancing overall network reliability.

Configuration Complexity

Stacking: Appears as a single device logically, simplifying configuration and management.

MLAG: Requires individual configuration of each switch but can be simplified with modern management tools and automation scripts.


Stacking: Requires specialised stacking cables, adding hardware costs.

MLAG: Requires peer-link cables, which incur costs comparable to stacking cables.


Stacking: Performance may be limited by the master switch’s CPU load, affecting overall system performance.

MLAG: Each switch independently handles data forwarding, distributing CPU load and enhancing performance.

Upgrade Complexity

Stacking: Higher upgrade complexity, needing synchronised upgrades of all member devices, with longer operation times and higher risks.

MLAG: Lower upgrade complexity, allowing independent upgrades of each device, reducing complexity and risk.

Upgrade Downtime

Stacking: The duration of downtime varies between 20 seconds and 1 minute, contingent upon the traffic load.

MLAG: Minimal downtime, usually within seconds, with negligible impact.

Network Design

Stacking: Simpler design, appearing as a single device, easier to manage and design.

MLAG: More complex design, logically still two separate devices, requiring more planning and management.

Enhancing Display Networks: Stacking vs. MLAG Applications

This section explains how these technologies are used in real-world situations after learning about Stacking and MLAG differences. This will help you make informed decisions when setting up a network.

Stacking is suitable for small to medium-sized network environments that require simplified management and configuration and enhanced redundancy. It is widely used in enterprise campus networks and small to medium-sized data centres.

MLAG, on the other hand, is ideal for large data centres and high-density server access environments that require high availability and high performance. It offers redundancy and load balancing across devices. The choice between these technologies depends on the specific needs, scale, and complexity of your network.

In practical situations, Stacking and MLAG technologies can be combined to take advantage of their strengths. This creates a synergistic effect that is stronger than each technology individually. Stacking technology simplifies the network topology, increasing bandwidth and fault tolerance. MLAG technology provides redundancy and load balancing, enhancing network availability.

Therefore, consider integrating Stacking and MLAG technologies to achieve better network performance and reliability when designing and deploying enterprise networks.


Both Multichassis Link Aggregation (MLAG) and stackable switches offer unique advantages in modern network architectures. MLAG ensures backup and reliability with cross-switch link aggregation. Stackable switches allow for easy management and scalability by acting as one unit. Understanding the specific requirements and use cases of each technology is essential for designing resilient and efficient network infrastructures.

How FS Can Help

FS, a trusted global ICT products and solutions provider, offers a range of data centre switches to meet diverse enterprise needs. FS data centre switches support a variety of features and protocols, including stacking, MLAG, and VXLAN, making them suitable for diverse network construction. Customised solutions tailored to your requirements can assist with network upgrades. Visit the FS website to explore products and solutions that can help you build a high-performance network today.

VXLAN VS. MPLS: From Data Centre to Metropolitan Area Network

In recent years, the advancement of cloud computing, virtualisation, and containerisation technologies has driven the adoption of network virtualisation. Both MPLS and VXLAN leverage virtualisation concepts to create logical network architectures, enabling more complex and flexible domain management. However, they serve different purposes. This article will compare VXLAN and MPLS, explaining why VXLAN is more popular than MPLS in metropolitan and wide area networks.

Understanding VXLAN and MPLS: Key Concepts Unveiled


Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) encapsulates Layer 2 Ethernet frames within Layer 3 UDP packets, enabling devices and applications to communicate over a large physical network as if they were on the same Layer 2 Ethernet network. VXLAN technology uses the existing Layer 3 network as an underlay to create a virtual Layer 2 network, known as an overlay. As a network virtualisation technology, VXLAN addresses the scalability challenges associated with large-scale cloud computing setups and deployments.


Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a technology that uses labels to direct data transmission quickly and efficiently across open communication networks. The term “multi-protocol” indicates that MPLS can support various network layer protocols and is compatible with multiple Layer 2 data link layer technologies. This technology simplifies data transmission between two nodes by using short path labels instead of long network addresses. MPLS allows the addition of more sites with minimal configuration. It is also independent of IP, merely simplifying the implementation of IP addresses. MPLS over VPN adds an extra layer of security since MPLS itself lacks built-in security features.

Data Centre Network Architecture Based on MPLS

MPLS Layer 2 VPN (L2VPN) provides Layer 2 connectivity across a Layer 3 network, but it requires all routers in the network to be IP/MPLS routers. Virtual networks are isolated using MPLS pseudowire encapsulation and can stack MPLS labels, similar to VLAN tag stacking, to support a large number of virtual networks.

IP/MPLS is commonly used in telecom service provider networks, so many service providers’ L2VPN services are implemented using MPLS. These include point-to-point L2VPN and multipoint L2VPN implemented according to the Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) standard. These services typically conform to the MEF Carrier Ethernet service definitions of E-Line (point-to-point) and E-LAN (multipoint).

Because MPLS and its associated control plane protocols are designed for highly scalable Layer 3 service provider networks, some data centre operators have adopted MPLS L2VPN in their data centre networks to overcome the scalability and resilience limitations of Layer 2 switched networks, as shown in the diagram.

Why is VXLAN Preferred Over MPLS in Data Centre Networks?

Considering the features and applications of both technologies, the following points summarise why VXLAN is more favoured:

Cost of MPLS Routers

For a long time, some service providers have been interested in building cost-effective metropolitan networks using data centre-grade switches. Over 20 years ago, the first generation of competitive metro Ethernet service providers, like Yipes and Telseon, built their networks using the most advanced gigabit Ethernet switches available in enterprise networks at the time. However, such networks struggled to provide the scalability and resilience required by large service providers (SPs). Consequently, most large SPs shifted to MPLS (as shown in the diagram below). However, MPLS routers are more expensive than ordinary Ethernet switches, and this cost disparity has persisted over the decades. Today, data centre-grade switches combined with VXLAN overlay architecture can largely eliminate the shortcomings of pure Layer 2 networks without the high costs of MPLS routing, attracting a new wave of SPs.

Tight Coupling Between Core and Edge

MPLS-based VPN solutions require tight coupling between edge and core devices, meaning every node in the data centre network must support MPLS. In contrast, VXLAN only requires a VTEP (VXLAN Tunnel Endpoint) in edge nodes (e.g., leaf switches) and can use any IP-capable device or IP transport network to implement data centre spine and data centre interconnect (DCI).

MPLS Expertise

Outside of large service providers, MPLS technology is challenging to learn, and relatively few network engineers can easily build and operate MPLS-based networks. VXLAN, being simpler, is becoming a fundamental technology widely mastered by data centre network engineers.

Advancements in Data Centre Switching Technology

Modern data centre switching chips have integrated numerous functions that make metro networks based on VXLAN possible. Here are two key examples:

  • Hardware-based VTEP supporting line-rate VXLAN encapsulation.
  • Expanded tables providing the routing and forwarding scale required to create resilient, scalable Layer 3 underlay networks and multi-tenant overlay services.

Additionally, newer data centre-grade switches have powerful CPUs capable of supporting advanced control planes crucial for extended Ethernet services, whether it’s BGP EVPN (a protocol-based approach) or an SDN-based protocol-less control plane. Therefore, in many metro network applications, specialised (and thus high-cost) routing hardware is no longer necessary.

VXLAN Overlay Architecture for Metropolitan and Wide Area Networks

Overlay networks have been widely adopted in various applications such as data centre networks and enterprise SD-WAN. A key commonality among these overlay networks is their loose coupling with the underlay network. Essentially, as long as the network provides sufficient capacity and resilience, the underlay network can be constructed using any network technology and utilise any control plane. The overlay is only defined at the service endpoints, with no service provisioning within the underlay network nodes.

One of the primary advantages of SD-WAN is its ability to utilise various networks, including broadband or wireless internet services, which are widely available and cost-effective, providing sufficient performance for many users and applications. When VXLAN overlay is applied to metropolitan and wide area networks, similar benefits are also realised, as depicted in the diagram.

When building a metropolitan network to provide services like Ethernet Line (E-Line), Multipoint Ethernet Local Area Network (E-LAN), or Layer 3 VPN (L3VPN), it is crucial to ensure that the Underlay can meet the SLA (Service Level Agreement) requirements for such services.

VXLAN-Based Metropolitan Network Overlay Control Plane Options

So far, our focus has mainly been on the advantages of VXLAN over MPLS in terms of network architecture and capital costs, i.e., the advantages of the data plane. However, VXLAN does not specify a control plane, so let’s take a look at the Overlay control plane options.

The most prominent control plane option for creating VXLAN Overlay and providing Overlay services should be BGP EVPN, which is a protocol-based approach that requires service configuration in each edge node. The main drawback of BGP EVPN is the complexity of operations.

Another protocol-less approach is using SDN and services defined in an SDN controller to programme the data plane of each edge node. This approach eliminates much of the operational complexity of protocol-based BGP EVPN. Nonetheless, the centralised SDN controller architecture, suitable for single-site data centre architectures, presents significant scalability and resilience issues when implemented in metropolitan and wide area networks. As a result, it’s unclear whether it’s a superior alternative to MPLS for metropolitan networks.

There’s also a third possibility—decentralised or distributed SDN, in which the SDN controller’s functionality is duplicated and spread across the network. This can also be referred to as a “controller-less” SDN because it doesn’t necessitate a separate controller server/device, thereby completely resolving the scalability and resilience problems associated with centralised SDN control while maintaining the advantages of simplified and expedited service configuration.

Deployment Options

Due to VXLAN’s ability to decouple Overlay services delivery from the Underlay network, it creates deployment options that MPLS cannot match, such as virtual service Overlays on existing IP infrastructure, as shown in the diagram. VXLAN-based switch deployments at the edge of existing networks, scalable according to business requirements, allow for the addition of new Ethernet and VPN services and thus generate new revenue without altering the existing network.

VXLAN Overlay Deployment on Existing Metropolitan Networks

The metropolitan network infrastructure shown in Figure 2 can support all services offered by an MPLS-based network, including commercial internet, Ethernet and VPN services, as well as consumer triple-play services. Moreover, it completely eliminates the costs and complexities associated with MPLS.

Converged Metropolitan Core with VXLAN Service Overlay


VXLAN has become the most popular overlay network virtualization protocol in data centre network architecture, surpassing many alternative solutions. When implemented with hardware-based VTEPs in switches and DPUs, and combined with BGP EVPN or SDN control planes and network automation, VXLAN-based overlay networks can provide the scalability, agility, high performance, and resilience required for distributed cloud networks in the foreseeable future.

How FS Can Help

FS is a trusted provider of ICT products and solutions to enterprise customers worldwide. Our range of data centre switches covers multiple speeds, catering to diverse business needs. We offer personalised customisation services to tailor exclusive solutions for you and assist with network upgrades.

Explore the FS website today, choose the products and solutions that best suit your requirements, and build a high-performance network.

Network Virtualisation: VXLAN Benefits & Differences

With the rapid development of cloud computing and virtualisation technologies, data centre networks are facing increasing challenges. Traditional network architectures have limitations in meeting the demands of large-scale data centres, particularly in terms of scalability, isolation, and flexibility. To overcome these limitations and provide better performance and scalability for data centre networks, VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN) has emerged as an innovative network virtualisation technology. This article will detail the principles and advantages of VXLAN, its applications in data centre networks, and help you understand the differences between VXLAN and VLAN.

The Power of VXLAN: Transforming Data Centre Networks

VXLAN is a network virtualisation technology designed to overcome the limitations of traditional Ethernet, offering enhanced scalability and isolation. It enables the creation of a scalable virtual network on existing infrastructure, allowing virtual machines (VMs) to move freely within a logical network, regardless of the underlying physical network topology. VXLAN achieves this by creating a virtual Layer 2 network over an existing IP network, encapsulating traditional Ethernet frames within UDP packets for transmission. This encapsulation allows VXLAN to operate on current network infrastructure without requiring extensive modifications.

VXLAN uses a 24-bit VXLAN Network Identifier (VNI) to identify virtual networks, allowing multiple independent virtual networks to coexist simultaneously. The destination MAC address of a VXLAN packet is replaced with the MAC address of the virtual machine or physical host within the VXLAN network, enabling communication between virtual machines. VXLAN also supports multipath transmission through MP-BGP EVPN and provides multi-tenant isolation within the network.

How it works

  • Encapsulation: When a virtual machine (VM) sends an Ethernet frame, the VXLAN module encapsulates it in a UDP packet. The source IP address of the packet is the IP address of the host where the VM resides, and the destination IP address is that of the remote endpoint of the VXLAN tunnel. The VNI field in the VXLAN header identifies the target virtual network. The UDP packet is then transmitted through the underlying network to reach the destination host.
  • Decapsulation: Upon receiving a VXLAN packet, the VXLAN module parses the UDP packet header to extract the encapsulated Ethernet frame. By examining the VNI field, the VXLAN module identifies the target virtual network and forwards the Ethernet frame to the corresponding virtual machine or physical host.

This process of encapsulation and decapsulation allows VXLAN to transparently transport Ethernet frames over the underlying network, while simultaneously providing logically isolated virtual networks.

Key Components

  • VXLAN Identifier (VNI): Used to distinguish different virtual networks, similar to a VLAN identifier.
  • VTEP (VXLAN Tunnel Endpoint): A network device responsible for encapsulating and decapsulating VXLAN packets, typically a switch or router.
  • Control Plane and Data Plane: The control plane is responsible for establishing and maintaining VXLAN tunnels, while the data plane handles the actual data transmission.

The Benefits of VXLAN: A Changer for Virtual Networks

VXLAN, as an emerging network virtualisation technology, offers several advantages in data centre networks:


VXLAN uses a 24-bit VNI identifier, supporting up to 16,777,216 virtual networks, each with its own independent Layer 2 namespace. This scalability meets the demands of large-scale data centres and supports multi-tenant isolation.

Cross-Subnet Communication

Traditional Ethernet relies on Layer 3 routers for forwarding across different subnets. VXLAN, by using the underlying IP network as the transport medium, enables cross-subnet communication within virtual networks, allowing virtual machines to migrate freely without changing their IP addresses.


VXLAN can operate over existing network infrastructure without requiring significant modifications. It is compatible with current network devices and protocols, such as switches, routers, and BGP. This flexibility simplifies the creation and management of virtual networks.

Multipath Transmission

VXLAN leverages multipath transmission (MP-BGP EVPN) to achieve load balancing and redundancy in data centre networks. It can choose the optimal path for data transmission based on network load and path availability, providing better performance and reliability.


VXLAN supports tunnel encryption, ensuring data confidentiality and integrity over the underlying IP network. Using secure protocols (like IPsec) or virtual private networks (VPNs), VXLAN can offer a higher level of data transmission security.

VXLAN vs. VLAN: Unveiling the Key Differences

VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN) and VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) are two distinct network isolation technologies that differ significantly in their implementation, functionality, and application scenarios.


VLAN: VLAN is a Layer 2 (data link layer) network isolation technology that segments a physical network into different virtual networks using VLAN identifiers (VLAN IDs) configured on switches. VLANs use VLAN tags within a single physical network to identify and isolate different virtual networks, achieving isolation between different users or devices.

VXLAN: VXLAN is a Layer 3 (network layer) network virtualisation technology that extends Layer 2 networks by creating virtual tunnels over an underlying IP network. VXLAN uses VXLAN Network Identifiers (VNIs) to identify different virtual networks and encapsulates original Ethernet frames within UDP packets to enable communication between virtual machines, overcoming physical network limitations.


VLAN: VLANs primarily provide Layer 2 network segmentation and isolation, allowing a single physical network to be divided into multiple virtual networks. Different VLANs are isolated from each other, enhancing network security and manageability.

VXLAN: VXLAN not only provides Layer 2 network segmentation but also creates virtual networks over an underlying IP network, enabling extensive dynamic VM migration and inter-data centre communication. VXLAN offers greater network scalability and flexibility, making it suitable for large-scale cloud computing environments and virtualised data centres.

Application Scenarios

VLAN: VLANs are suitable for small to medium-sized network environments, commonly found in enterprise LANs. They are mainly used for organisational user segmentation, security isolation, and traffic management.

VXLAN: VXLAN is ideal for large data centre networks, especially in cloud computing environments and virtualised data centres. It supports large-scale dynamic VM migration, multi-tenant isolation, and network scalability, providing a more flexible and scalable network architecture.

These distinctions highlight how VXLAN and VLAN cater to different networking needs and environments, offering tailored solutions for varying levels of network complexity and scalability.

Enhancing Data Centres with VXLAN Technology

The application of VXLAN enhances the flexibility, efficiency, and security of data centre networks, forming a crucial part of modern data centre virtualisation. Here are some typical applications of VXLAN in data centres:

Virtual Machine Migration

VXLAN allows virtual machines to migrate freely between different physical hosts without changing IP addresses. This flexibility and scalability are vital for achieving load balancing, resource scheduling, and fault tolerance in data centres.

Multi-Tenant Isolation

By using different VNIs, VXLAN can divide a data centre into multiple independent virtual networks, ensuring isolation between different tenants. This isolation guarantees data security and privacy for tenants and allows each tenant to have independent network policies and quality of service guarantees.

Inter-Data Centre Connectivity

VXLAN can extend across multiple data centres, enabling the establishment of virtual network connections between them. This capability supports resource sharing, business expansion, and disaster recovery across data centres.

Cloud Service Providers

VXLAN helps cloud service providers build highly scalable virtualised network infrastructures. By using VXLAN, cloud service providers can offer flexible virtual network services and support resource isolation and security in multi-tenant environments.

Virtual Network Functions (VNF)

Combining VXLAN with Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) enables the deployment and management of virtual network functions. VXLAN serves as the underlying network virtualisation technology, providing flexible network connectivity and isolation for VNFs, thus facilitating rapid deployment and elastic scaling of network functions.


In summary, VXLAN offers powerful scalability, flexibility, and isolation, providing new directions and solutions for the future development of data centre networks. By utilising VXLAN, data centres can achieve virtual machine migration, multi-tenant isolation, inter-data centre connectivity, and enhanced support for cloud service providers.

How FS Can Help

As an industry-leading provider of network solutions, FS offers a variety of high-performance data centre switches supporting multiple protocols, such as MLAG, EVPN-VXLAN, link aggregation, and LACP. FS switches come pre-installed with PicOS®, equipped with comprehensive SDN capabilities and the compatible AmpCon™ management software. This combination delivers a more resilient, programmable, and scalable network operating system (NOS) with lower TCO. The advanced PicOS® and AmpCon™ management platform enables data centre operators to efficiently configure, monitor, manage, and maintain modern data centre fabrics, achieving higher utilisation and reducing overall operational costs.

Register on the FS website now to enjoy customised solutions tailored to your needs, optimising your data centre for greater efficiency and benefits.

Managed vs Unmanaged vs Smart Switch: Understanding the Distinctions

Switches form the backbone of LANs, efficiently connecting devices within a specific LAN and ensuring effective data transmission among them. There are three main types of switches: managed switches, smart managed switches, and unmanaged switches. Choosing the right switch during network infrastructure upgrades can be challenging. In this article, we delve into the differences between these three types of switches to help determine which one can meet your actual network requirements.

What are Managed Switches, Unmanaged Switches and Smart Switches?

Managed switches typically use SNMP protocol, allowing users to monitor the switch and its port statuses, enabling them to read throughput, port utilisation, etc. These switches are designed and configured for high workloads, high traffic, and custom deployments. In large data centres and enterprise networks, managed switches are often used in the core layer of the network.

Unmanaged switches, also known as dumb switches, are plug-and-play devices with no remote configuration, management, or monitoring options. You cannot log in to an unmanaged switch or read any port utilisation or throughput of the devices. However, unmanaged switches are easy to set up and are used in small networks or adding temporary device groups to large networks to expand Ethernet port counts and connect network hotspots or edge devices to small independent networks.

Smart managed switches are managed through a web browser, allowing users to maintain their network through intuitive guidance. These smart Ethernet switches are particularly suitable for enterprises needing remote secure management and troubleshooting, enabling network administrators to monitor and control traffic for optimal network performance and reliability. Web smart managed switches have become a viable solution for small and medium-sized enterprises, with the advantage of being able to change the switch configuration to meet specific network requirements.

What is the Difference Between Them?

Next, we will elaborate on the differences between these three types of switches from the following three aspects to help you lay the groundwork for purchasing.

Configuration and Network Performance

Managed switches allow administrators to configure, monitor, and manage them through interfaces such as Command Line Interface (CLI), web interface, or SNMP. They support advanced features like VLAN segmentation, network monitoring, traffic control, protocol support, etc. Additionally, their advanced features enable users to recover data in case of device or network failures. On the other hand, unmanaged switches come with pre-installed configurations that prevent you from making changes to the network and do not support any form of configuration or management. Smart managed switches, positioned between managed and unmanaged switches, offer partial management features such as VLANs, QoS, etc., but their configuration and management options are not as extensive as fully managed switches and are typically done through a web interface.

Security Features

The advanced features of managed switches help identify and swiftly eliminate active threats while protecting and controlling data. Unmanaged switches do not provide any security features. In contrast, smart managed switches, while also offering some security features, usually do not match the comprehensiveness or sophistication of managed switches.


Due to the lack of management features, unmanaged switches are the least expensive. Managed switches typically have the highest prices due to the advanced features and management capabilities they provide. Smart managed switches, however, tend to be lower in cost compared to fully managed switches.

Managed SwitchComprehensive functionsMonitoring and controlling a whole networkHigh-levels of network securityExpensiveData center, large size enterprise networks
Smart Managed SwitchLimited but intelligent functionsIntelligent manage via a Web browserBetter network securityCheapSMBs, home offices
Unmanaged SwitchFixed configurationPlug and play with limited configurationNo security capabilitiesAffordableHome, conference rooms

How to Select the Appropriate Switch?

After understanding the main differences between managed, unmanaged, and smart managed switches, you should choose the appropriate switch type based on your actual needs. Here are the applications of these three types of switches, which you can consider when making a purchase:

  • Managed switches are suitable for environments that require highly customised and precise network management, such as large enterprise networks, data centres, or scenarios requiring complex network policies and security controls.
  • Smart managed switches are suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises or departmental networks that require a certain level of network management and flexible configuration but may not have the resources or need to maintain the complex settings of a fully managed switch.
  • Unmanaged switches are ideal for home use, small offices, or any simple network environment that does not require complex configuration and management. Unmanaged switches are the ideal choice when the budget is limited, and network requirements are straightforward.

In brief, the choice of switch type depends on your network requirements, budget, and how much time you are willing to invest in network management. If you need high control and customisation capabilities, a managed switch is the best choice. If you are looking for cost-effectiveness and a certain level of control, a smart managed switch may be more suitable. For the most basic network needs, an unmanaged switch provides a simpler and more economical solution.


Ultimately, selecting the appropriate switch type is essential to achieve optimal network performance and efficiency. It is important to consider your network requirements, budget, and management preferences when making this decision for your network infrastructure.

As a leading global provider of networking products and solutions, FS not only offers many types of switches, but also customised solutions for your business network. For more product or technology-related knowledge, you can visit FS Community.

Discovering Powerful FS Enterprise Switches for Your Network

Enterprise switches are specifically designed for networks with multiple switches and connections, often referred to as campus LAN switches. These switches are tailored to meet the needs of enterprise networks, which typically follow a three-tier hierarchical design comprising core, aggregation, and access layers. Each layer serves distinct functions within the network architecture. In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of enterprise switches and discuss important factors to consider when buying them.

Data Centre, Enterprise, and Home Network Switches: Key Differences

Switch vendors provide network switches designed for different network environments. The following comparison will help you understand more about enterprise switches:

Data Centre Switches

These switches have high port density and bandwidth requirements, handling both north-south traffic (traffic between data centre external users and servers or between data centre servers and the Internet) and east-west traffic (traffic between servers within the data centre).

Enterprise Switches

They need to track and monitor users and endpoint devices to protect each connection point from security issues. Some have special features to meet specific network environments, such as PoE capabilities. With PoE technology, enterprise network switches can manage the power consumption of many endpoint devices connected to the switch.

Home Network Switches

Home network traffic is not high, meaning the requirements for switches are much lower. In most cases, switches only need to extend network connections and transfer data from one device to another without handling data congestion. Unmanaged plug-and-play switches are often used as the perfect solution for home networks because they are easy to manage, require no configuration, and are more cost-effective than managed switches.

For SOHO offices with fewer than 10 users, a single 16-port Ethernet switch is usually sufficient. However, for tech-savvy users who like to build fast, secure home networks, managed switches are often the preferred choice.

Selecting the Ideal Switch: Data Centre vs. Enterprise Networks

For large enterprise networks, redundancy in the uplink links such as aggregation and core layers should be much higher than in the access layer. This means that high availability should be the primary consideration when designing the network. To cope with high traffic volumes and minimize the risk of failures, it’s advisable to deploy two or more aggregation or core layer switches at each level. This ensures that the failure of one switch does not affect the other.

In complex networks with a large number of servers to manage, network virtualization is needed to optimise network speed and reliability. Data centre switches offer richer functionality compared to traditional LAN enterprise switches, making them crucial for the successful deployment of high-density virtual machine environments and handling the increasing east-west traffic associated with virtualization.

Key Considerations Before Selecting Enterprise Switches

Ethernet switches play a crucial role in enterprise networks, regardless of whether it’s a small or large-scale network. Before you decide to buy enterprise switches, there are several criteria you should consider:

Network Planning

Identify your specific needs, including network scale, purpose, devices to be connected, and future network plans. For small businesses with fewer than 200 users and no expansion plans, a two-tier architecture might suffice. Medium to large enterprises typically require a three-tier hierarchical network model, comprising access, distribution, and core layer switches.

Evaluate Enterprise Switches

Once you’ve established your network architecture, delve deeper into information to make an informed decision.

  • Port Speeds and Wiring Connections: Modern enterprise switches support various port speeds such as 1G Ethernet, 10GE, 40GE, and 100GE. Consider whether you need RJ45 ports for copper connections or SFP/SFP+ ports for fibre connections based on your wiring infrastructure.
  • Installation Environment: Factor in the switch’s dimensions, operating temperature, and humidity based on the installation environment. Ensure adequate rack space and consider switches that can operate in extreme conditions if needed.
  • Advanced Features: Look for advanced features like built-in troubleshooting tools, converged wired or wireless capabilities, and other specific functionalities to meet your network requirements.

Other Considerations

PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches simplify wiring for devices like security cameras and IP phones. Stackable switches offer scalability for future expansion, enhancing network availability. By considering these factors, you can make a well-informed decision when selecting enterprise switches for your network infrastructure.

How to Choose Your Enterprise Switch Supplier

Creating a functional network is often more complex than anticipated. With numerous suppliers offering similar specifications for switches, how do you make the right choice? Here are some tips for selecting a different switch supplier:

  • Once you have an idea of your ideal switch ports and speeds, opt for a supplier with a diverse range of switch types and models. This makes it easier to purchase the right enterprise switches in one go and avoids compatibility and interoperability issues.
  • Understanding hardware support services, costs, and the software offered by switch suppliers can save you from unnecessary complications. Warranty is a crucial factor when choosing a switch brand. Online and offline technical assistance and troubleshooting support are also important considerations.

If you’ve reviewed the above criteria but are still unsure about the feasibility of your plan, seek help from network technicians. Most switch suppliers offer technical support and can recommend products based on your specific needs.


In summary, enterprise switches are essential components of contemporary network infrastructures, meeting the varied requirements of various network environments. When choosing, it’s essential to factor in elements like network planning, port speeds, installation environment, advanced features, and supplier support services. By carefully assessing these criteria and seeking guidance as necessary, you can ensure optimal performance and reliability for the network infrastructure.

How FS Can Help

FS offers a variety of models of enterprise switches and provides high-performance, highly reliable, and premium service network solutions, helping your enterprise network achieve efficient operations. Furthermore, FS not only offers a 5-year warranty for most switches but also provides free software upgrades. Additionally, our 24/7 customer service and free technical support are available in all time zones.

Exploring FS Enterprise Switches: A Comprehensive Insight

As a business owner, selecting the right switch for your enterprise network can be an ongoing challenge. You not only need to deal with dozens of suppliers offering various switch options but also consider the actual setup environment. In such situations, you may encounter a variety of questions, such as compatibility with existing equipment, required functionalities, and more.

FS enterprise switches perform exceptionally well in multiple scenarios, meeting the fundamental needs of modern enterprises by optimising networking, enhancing network reliability, and simplifying operations. In this article, we will introduce three series of enterprise switches from FS to help you make better choices.

FS S3910 Series Enterprise Switches

Considering users’ needs for security, availability, and ease of operation, the FS S3910 series gigabit Ethernet switches are equipped with a variety of features at both the software and hardware levels.


The S3910 series enterprise switches support various security policies and protocols. Administrators can utilise the S3910 switch’s anti-DDoS attack, illegal ARP packet inspection, and various hardware ACL policies for protection, creating a clean network environment for end users. Additionally, it supports various IPv4 and IPv6 protocols, allowing users to build flexible networks according to their requirements. Lastly, it supports multiple standard management methods such as SNMP, CLI, RMON, SSH, Syslog, NTP/SNTP, FTP, TFTP, and Web GUI, catering to different user preferences.


The key components of the S3910 series enterprise switches are reinforced with conformal coating, enhancing device protection and reliability in harsh environments. Additionally, the switch ports can withstand 8 kV lightning strikes. Furthermore, hot-swappable power supplies and redundant power can minimise downtime. Four fixed SFP or SFP+ ports can be used for physical stacking, providing greater flexibility in network topology design.

An important feature of the FS S3910 series gigabit switches is their green energy-saving capability. They incorporate a port auto-power-off function. If a port remains idle for a while, the system automatically switches the port to energy-saving mode. When there is data transmission or reception, the port is awakened by periodically sending monitoring frames, resuming service.


The S3910 series gigabit enterprise switches can fully meet the requirements of various medium- to large-scale network aggregation layers and can serve as core switches in some small-scale networks. Common application areas include:

  • Gigabit access for LAN networks in large-scale park networks such as government buildings, universities, large enterprises, and manufacturing industries.
  • Gigabit access for commercial networks in sectors such as healthcare, libraries, conference centres, and exhibition halls.

FS S5800 Series Enterprise Switches

The FS S5800 series switches are layer 3 switches designed in a compact 1U form factor, suitable for most rack-mount scenarios requiring high density. They come with 1+1 hot-swappable DC power supplies and redundant fans, support MLAG, and offer higher reliability with the advantage of individual device upgrades.

There are seven types in the FS S5800 series, each with different port configurations, but all featuring multifunctional design, flexible operations, and enhanced security for validated performance, addressing common challenges in network solutions. Here are the notable advantages of the FS S5800 series switches:

  • Achieve higher capacity with up to 600 Gbps switching capacity at a lower cost, with optimal traffic control for microsecond-level latency.
  • Support ARP checks and IP Source Guard features to protect business networks from attacks.
  • Real-time configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting of devices without CLI expertise. Visual interface for clear system status.
  • Build high-speed and future-ready networks for applications requiring higher bandwidth, such as 4K videos, HD video conferences, low-latency gaming, etc.

Different layers in the three-tiered model may have varying requirements for switches. Whether current or future demands, the FS S5800 series switches offer multiple options. For more FAQs about the FS S5800 series switches, you can visit the FS community.

FS S3900 Series Enterprise Switches

The FS S3900 series switches are gigabit Ethernet L2/L3 Lite managed switches, typically featuring 24 or 48 1G downlink ports and 4 10G uplink ports for stacking. The S3900 series switches also support various features such as advanced QoS, 1+1 redundant power supplies, and fans, making them an ideal choice for small and medium-sized enterprises, campuses, and branch networks. Here are the key features of the FS S3900 series switches:

Support Stacking

Simplified network management. The 10G high-speed uplink ports provide flexibility and scalability for enterprise access deployments.

Minimised Power Consumption

The S3900-24T4S switch adopts a fanless design for low-noise operation, addressing the issue of high noise levels in small switch deployments in office environments, thus enhancing overall system reliability.

Efficient Traffic Management

The QoS of the S3900 series switches enables better traffic control, reducing network latency and congestion, and providing improved service capabilities for designated network communications.

Enhanced Security

Leveraging the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol of the S3900 series switches, remote servers can be easily controlled and modified via the Internet. Furthermore, SSH uses key login functionality to encrypt and authenticate network data, limiting unauthorized access and effectively ensuring the normal operation of user network services.


Overall, FS provides three series of enterprise switches – S3900, S3910, and S5800 – designed to meet various network scales and requirements, delivering flexible, efficient, and secure network solutions.

While the S3900 series is a stackable switch supporting high-performance Ethernet stacking technology for easier network expansion and management, the S3910 series goes a step further as a high-performance enterprise-level switch with higher stacking bandwidth and more stack members, making it ideal for demanding network environments. On the other hand, the S5800 series stands out as a high-performance switch specifically designed for data centres and large enterprise networks, featuring high-density 10G and 40G port configurations, making it perfect for high-bandwidth scenarios.

If you’re still hesitating about choosing FS switches, why not take a look at what FS users have to say about our switches?

How FS Can Help

As a global cross-industry network solutions provider in the ICT sector, FS offers products and customised solutions to global data centres, telecommunications, and various enterprises. Register on the FS website now to enjoy comprehensive services immediately.

What Is an Internet Switch and How Does It Work?

The Internet switch, since its birth, has been growing rapidly not only in function but also in performance. Experts have researched and developed generations of Internet switches, while the majority of people may be new to the devices, not taking fully advantage of them. This paper aims to help you get further understanding of Internet switch definition, benefits and working principle.

What Is an Internet Switch?

An Internet switch is another name of network switch. It is a critical component in many business networks, for the fact that they connect various PCs, printers, assess points, phones, lights, servers and other hardware. With an Internet switch, users can send and receive information and approach shared resources in a smooth, highly secure, and transparent manner. It addresses the low speed which was previously the shortcoming of hub, to sustain an efficient and high-speed information exchanging among hosts.

Internet switch

Why Use an Internet Switch?

  • Add More Ports to Your Router

In household use, many families view router as a must and Internet switch as an alternative. The fact is that the ports left for use is few when the router is connected and working. Given this, some will turn to an entry-level switch to add more Ethernet ports to the network. This kind of switch is usually the unmanaged switch that has no settings or special features itself. Your router continues to handle your Internet connection, letting your devices talk to one another and restricting what certain devices can do through parental controls or other settings—the switch is effectively invisible.

  • Add Ethernet All over Your House

Though the Wi-Fi is prevalent and convenient, you still need wired Ethernet if you want to play online games, stream 4K video or transfer large files over your network frequently. That can be guaranteed by a gigabit Ethernet switch to give you high speed and smooth network accessing.

  • Use Wires to Improve Wi-Fi

It is known to all that Wi-Fi can be freely accessed by anyone who has the password. However, as the users increase, the network may lag and be congested. Here you can install an Internet switch to improve your Wi-Fi performance by reducing the number of devices competing for wireless bandwidth. Faster switches like 10gbe switch, 40gbe switch and 100gbe switch will be recommended here.

How Does an Internet Switch Work?

As the name suggests, an Internet switch is a device to switch information in the local area network. But how? It is the intriguing part of the Internet switch. Well, a network switch determines where to send each incoming message by looking at the physical device address (also known as the Media Access Control address or MAC address). Inside the switch there is a table that match each MAC address to the port from which the MAC address has been received. If a frame is to be forwarded to a MAC address that is unknown to the switch infrastructure, it is flooded to all ports in the switching domain. Broadcast and multicast frames are also flooded. Otherwise, it goes to the specific port.


Having read this article, you are expected to have a generally understanding of the Internet switch. Internet switch steps into people’s life, bringing great benefits and convenience. Undoubtedly, it is a breakthrough in network technology. If you determines to get it, give full play to its role to better serve you applications.

Related article: Core Switch Vs Distribution Switch Vs Access Switch

Can 10Gb Switch Port Link to Gigabit Switch Port?

With the tendency for higher speed network, 10Gb switch has already become familiar with home individuals, no longer the privilege of enterprise operators. However, the issue of SFP to SFP+ compatibility always puzzles many network switch users, even some engineers. Will 1Gb SFP transceivers work with 10Gb SFP+ ports on 10Gb switch? Or will 10Gb SFP+ run at 1Gb to link gigabit switch? And If 10Gb optics in a switch can auto-negotiate to 1Gb when the other end is 1Gb? All these related questions origin from the link between 10Gb SFP+ slots on 10Gb switch and 1Gb SFP ports on gigabit switch. Thus this article will reveal the mask of SFP to SFP+ compatibility from this point of view.

10G SFP+ Port on 10Gb Switch Take 1G SFP Optics on Gigabit Switch in Most Situations

Will 1Gb SFP transceivers/modules work with 10Gb SFP+ ports? The answer is “Yes” in most cases. There are many vendors providing 10Gb switches that can take both a 10G SFP+ and a 1G SFP in the 10Gb SFP+ slot, but not at the same time for obvious reasons. This option is supported by dual speed operation. So before plugging a SFP transceiver into the SFP+ port on your 10GbE switch, one must consult your rep to make sure the 10Gb switch port support dual speed.

To achieve link of 10Gb switch port to gigabit switch port, here is a simple guide. Install a 1Gb SFP module on the 10GbE switch SFP+ port and the gigabit switch 1Gb SFP port respectively, then connect the 10Gb switch and the gigabit switch with corresponding 1Gb SFP fiber cable or Ethernet copper cable (eg. Cat6).

1G SFP Port on Gigabit Switch Cannot Take 10Gb SFP+ Optics on 10Gb Switch in All Cases

Will 10Gb SFP+ running at 1Gb? The answer is definitely “No”. SFP optics do work in SFP+ slots in most cases, but SFP+ optics on 10Gb switch can never work in SFP slots on gigabit switch. The reason is about a power availability thing. As we know, once an module is installed, the speed of the port is decided. Most SFP+ slots are backward compatible with SFP modules to run at 1G speed. However, the SFP slots on gigabit switch cannot support the 10G speed required by SFP+ modules. For instance, most Cisco and FS 10Gb switches support 10G SFP+ and 1G SFP optics on their SFP+ ports. But some Brocade gear and HP A-series models are SFP+ only. One need to double check the compatibility of this switch with the vendor rep.

FS 10Gb switch SFP+ port link to gigabit switch SFP port

FS 10Gb switch SFP+ port links to gigabit switch SFP port via 1G SFP modules and fiber patch cable.

SFP+ Optics in a 10Gb Switch Cannot Auto-negotiate Down to 1G when the Other End Is Gigabit Switch

Unlike copper SFP modules supporting 10/100/1000 auto-sensing, fiber optics do not support auto-negotiation. Because this technology is based on electrical pluses but not optical pluses. Thus 10Gb SFP+ optics on 10Gb switch can not auto-negotiate down to 1Gb if the other end is gigabit switch. In fact, most SFP and SFP+ transceivers only run at its rated speed and the transceivers at both end of the cable should at the same speed. For example, if a 10Gb SFP+ module is plugged into the 10Gb switch port, it will only run at 10Gb. In this case if you link it to the gigabit switch port, it will not work. When sticking a 1Gb SFP module in the 10G SFP+ port, the 10Gb switch will only run at 1Gb. As thus you can link it to gigabit switch.

Sometimes the 10GbE switch port would lock the speed at 1G until you reconfigure the switch to 10G. It is noted that SFP+ port usually enables a speed under 1G, which means one cannot insert 100Base SFP modules into SFP+ ports on 10Gb switch.


For the issue of SFP to SFP+ compatibility, a simple response is that most SFP+ can take SFP but not vice versa. The uncertain situation requires one to ask their switch vendors for clear reply. Thus 10Gb switch port is possible to link to gigabit switch port to run at 1G speed. The only thing you need to do is to plug each the aforesaid port with a 1Gb SFP module, and then connect the two modules on the 10Gb switch and the gigabit switch with a corresponding fiber patch cable or Ethernet copper cable.

Patch Panel vs Switch: What’s the Difference?

In network setups we see everything is plugged into a switch, but before that fiber cables are also connected to another supply – patch panel. Thus one question is often confusing: patch panel vs switch: What’s the difference and what’s the significant function of them respectively?

What Is Patch Panel?

Patch panel (fiber optic patch panel, fiber optic enclosure) is a terminate unit of network ports centralized together. It is a cable management solution component used to organize fiber cables and keep everything neat for a clean wiring closet. In data centers, a mass of cable wires scattering all over and mixed together can be bothersome, in this case a patch panel is indispensable and rather helpful. It not only offers ease of management, but also protect the terminations from being knocked. Besides the fiber optic patch panel, other cable management accessories including cable ties and cable labels are also used to keep cables tidy and easy for identification.

patch panel vs switch: fiber optic patch panel

Figure 1: This photo shows the application of patch panel by FS.COM for cable management in a data center.

What Is Switch?

Switch, commonly known as network switch, is an appliance in a data center that connects all devices (such as PCs and servers) as a whole to achieve intercommunication and data sharing between different network devices. It channels the incoming data from multiple input ports to the specific output port so as to deliver the data toward its destination. In Ethernet LAN or WAN, modern network switch usually determines which output port to use by network address.

patch panel vs switch: network switch

Figure 2: This photo shows the application of network switch by FS.COM in a data center.

Patch Panel vs Switch: What’s the Difference?

Table below shows the main difference of patch panel vs switch.

Name Patch Panel Switch
Price Cheap Expensive
Role playing Cable management tool:
Centralizing cable wires together; protecting fiber cables from damage.
Functional performance: connecting all devices together to receive and transmit exact messages to the target device end.
Form feature  fiber optic patch panel  network switch
·Role in Date Center

Comparing patch panel vs switch, we can make the following conclusion. Patch panel is nothing but an essential cable management tool, which exerts no functional influence to the performance of data transmission. However, a switch is an irreplaceable functional supply in network setups.

Why Patch Panel Is Commonly Set Up in Network Installation?

As mentioned above, patch panel has no effect on the data transmission process. Can it be omitted in fiber optic cabling? Or can wires just directly plugged to a switch? The answer is yes when you just deal with several fiber cables. However, Ethernet patch panel is a must in data centers where there are a large number of Ethernet drops. No doubt you don’t want to see all the things tangled together. A patch panel in place provide ease management of classification, maintenance, repair, installation and upgrades.


This article gave an brief introduction to patch panel and switch respectively and then discussed the differences between them. Patch panel vs switch : what’s the difference, and why is a patch panel commonly set up in network installation whereas a switch is already used? Can you answer these questions now? Simply put, patch panel is an essential cable management tool whereas network switch is a significant functional supply in data center. Both of them play important role in their respective positions.