Some terms that are in common use in Networking

Here are some terms that are in common use in Networking:


The general term used for anything that can switch, regardless of discipline or
what is being switched. In the networking world, a switch is generally an Ethernet
switch. In the telecom world, a switch can be many things.

Ethernet switch

Any device that forwards frames based on their layer-2 MAC addresses using
Ethernet. While a hub repeats all frames to all ports, an Ethernet switch forwards
frames only to the ports for which they are destined. An Ethernet switch creates a
collision domain on each port, while a hub generally expands a collision domain
through all ports.

Layer-3 switch

This is a switch with routing capabilities. Generally, VLANs can be configured
as virtual interfaces on a layer-3 switch. True layer-3 switches are rare today;
most switches are now multilayer switches.

Multilayer switch

Same as a layer-3 switch, but may also allow for control based on higher layers in
packets. Multilayer switches allow for control based on TCP, UDP, and even
details contained within the data payload of a packet.


In Ethernet, switching is the act of forwarding frames based on their destination
MAC addresses. In telecom, switching is the act of making a connection between
two parties. In routing, switching is the process of forwarding packets from one
interface to another within a router



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