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Exploring Lightly Managed Network Switches

1/14/20  |  Austin Desmond, Rexel Technical Consultant

In this last installment, we discussed managed and unmanaged network switches. Today we are going to discuss the middle ground, the lightly managed network switch. Lightly managed switches offer the ease of an unmanaged switch while providing some of the major benefits of managed switches. If you did not read part one of this series you can check it out HERE and catch up.

Detect and Prevent Loops

Do you deal with downtime caused by your network often? This can come in the form of poor performance on the network as well as network crashes. Two of the most common causes of network downtime are network loops and lost or missing information packets due to multicast traffic that can overwhelm unmanaged networks.

Loops are a simple thing to create and can be a nightmare to find and fix with an unmanaged switch. Most lightly managed network switches have loop detection/prevention as well as the ability to do port prioritization, solving these issues. If high-speed resiliency, redundancy, or true network prioritization are needed, then a fully managed network switch will be the answer.

Network Securely

Another common issue preventing machines from being brought onto the network is security and IT regulations. Lightly managed network switches help solve this as well in many cases. Due to their similarity to unmanaged switches, they can be set up to be only visible to OT without hanging on the IT network. They also generally have some port security, allowing ports to be locked down or disabled. If a tighter integration with IT or higher-end security features are a must, take a look at the line of fully managed network switches from Rockwell Automation®.

What can Lightly Managed Network Switches do for You?

With features to aid in traffic management, diagnostics, and security, the lightly managed network switches can be a game-changer—all without the heavyweight configuration of a fully managed switch. This means you won’t need a degree in networking to set it up, and you can increase system performance, reliability, and security over an unmanaged switch.

Are you ready to try lightly managed network switches? Our Automation Specialists are here to help you make the switch. Contact us today!