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The 16 and 24 Port Switch Guide

The 16 and 24 Port Switch Guide

Ask any hardcore LAN gamer or IT manager about what makes their lives a blessing or a curse and most will reply simply: Networking. What brings all the enjoyment to a big gathering of computers and allows for fast paced interactions and communications between them is through a handy device known as a 16 or 24 port switch, also known as a hub. But choosing the wrong one or a malfunctioning hub will bring the whole thing crashing down very quickly.

So what does a 16 port or a 24 port switch do exactly? It transfers information rapidly between multiple computers at blazing fast speeds. This is very handy for large groups of computers in an office to exchange information without the need to manually move it with CD’s, USB flash drives or printing out a hard copy and walking it to the boss’s desk. Gamers love the 24 port switch as it allows for large groups of people to get together and play interactive games over the Local Area Network, or LAN.

Why is it called a 16 port or 24 port switch? The number of ports indicates the number of computers or devices that can be linked up on the network. There is also a port that allows for more switches to be added for additional computers to join into the network and have LEDs to show port activity.

Something to look for when buying a 16 or 24 port switch is the rate in which it will transfer information. This is especially true when one is using it for gaming as no one likes to lose due to a slow or lagging response.  Most switches are rated at ten, one hundred and one thousand megabits per second, or 10Mbps, 100Mbps or 1000Mbps. This translates into how long it will take to transfer that bulky file, large photo or seeing what is around the corner in the game very quickly.

Next thing to decide on is managed or unmanaged network for your switch.  Unmanaged ports do just what the name implies. Plug in your cable and it will assign an IP address to that computer and off it goes on its merry way. Managed network means you have more control over how the switch interacts with the computers on the network as well as internet access. This is great for companies that want to limit the bandwidth that is being used by that port, or that computer, so that it is not taking away from the rest of the user’s speeds. This is also important as it gives the network administrator the ability to turn off or on certain ports to limit the access to the network or internet. This is especially important for businesses that provide internet usage to customers at an hourly, daily or longer rate. If this was not possible you could simply plug another switch port into the wall and have many more computers accessing the network or internet and thusly slowing down the other users.

Photo courtesy of William Hook.

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