A network switch (also known as a switching or bridging hub) is a computer networking device that connects devices together on a computer network.

It uses packet switching to receive, process and forward data to the destination device. Unlike less advanced network hubs, a network switch forwards data only to those devices that need to receive it, rather than broadcasting the same data out of each of its ports. This massively reduces network traffic.


Network switches are available for ‘layer 2’ or ‘layer 3’, which determines the address types used. ‘Layer 3’ for example uses IP addresses. Switches are also available with Power-Over-Ethernet (POE). POE is a great way of providing low powered electrical supply to devices like telephones or wireless gateways, removing the need for costly electrical wiring to every device.