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Switches, Hubs, and Modems
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what is the difference between ordinary switch and L2 switch

Occasional Visitor

what is the difference between ordinary switch and L2 switch


i am new to this forum. i need exactly the difference between the ordinary switch and L2 ethernet switch

Thanking you,
Chan 007
Honored Contributor

Re: what is the difference between ordinary switch and L2 switch


What do you mean by an ordinary switch?

if you say it is a hub? then it does only forwarding ethernet signals send within one network. for example one IP subnet/IPX network. It does nothing. These devices are called Hubs (Active or passive), this works well when connected to a L2 or L3 switch.

Whereas if in an L2 switch if does routing and enhances the signal. E.g if you have a network more than 100mts, then add a L2 switch (Called Bridges) it will enhances the signal strength. Also it does routing at MAC level that are used by IPX. It will not work for any IP routing. These are not very old networking ways and not used that much.
These devices are called Bridges or L2 Devices

For IP routing you need a L3 switch. Which will do you IP routing between different subnets. These devices are called ROuters or L3 Switched

Hope this helps

Occasional Visitor

Re: what is the difference between ordinary switch and L2 switch


where can i get information on switches
please give me the links if possiable.

Thanking you,
Sergej Gurenko
Trusted Contributor

Re: what is the difference between ordinary switch and L2 switch

Chan 007: You are not correct about switch types. I found that you collect all you points in OpenView forums :)

Raja_0_exp: I advise you to go to the training. This 2 days course will be good There is no HP self placed training about switches ( All other topics are to advanced.

You can also visit this urls for quick info:
Or just use google.
Ernest Ford
Trusted Contributor

Re: what is the difference between ordinary switch and L2 switch

A L2 switch can be considered an "ordinary" switch. Unless a switch is specified as having L3 (layer 3) or routing capabilities, it should be considered an L2 (layer 2)switch - the term layer here refers to the layers of the OSI ISO model.


A hub is a multi-port repeater - it repeats or re-transmits the packets received on any one port to all the other ports.

A switch is different from a hub, in that it essentially repeats or re-transmits the packets received on one port ONLY to the port to which the destination host equipment is attached.

Switches make their decisions based on the MAC addresses and have a "learning" process - until a switch has learned which MAC address is connected to which port, it will broadcast to all ports in a manner similar to a hub.

There are different types of switches - unmanaged switches, where you have no control over how the switch operates, switches with varying degrees of management - ranging from your being able to manually configure the port speed and duplex capability, all the way up to full blown SNMP management capable.

All of the above functionality occurs in the two lowest layers of the OSI ISO model, hubs operate at layer 1 (physical) switches operate at layer 2 (data-link)

Within recent years, switches have become more complex and have included support for VLANs (virtual LANs) which allow the logical division of switches so that they support separate networks with separate ip address ranges, and this requires routing to allow traffic to flow in between the VLANs, leading to the development of a new breed of switches - the L3 or Layer 3 switch, which includes the routing capability.

L3 switches are always manageable, and typically quite expensive.

To summarize - network switching is done at the second layer of the OSI-ISO model, whilst network routing is done at the third layer. Switches with routing capability are L3 switches and ALL switches that are not capable of routing are L2 switches.