What is the difference between a layer 2 switch and a layer 3 switch?

Max Teo Posted 08 Jun 2023 18:03

What is the difference between a layer 2 switch and a layer 3 switch?

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Faisal P Posted 08 Jun 2023 20:30

While both Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches perform switching functions, Layer 3 switches have additional routing capabilities, allowing them to route IP packets between different subnets or VLANs within the switch itself. This makes Layer 3 switches more versatile and suitable for networks that require inter-VLAN routing, advanced traffic segmentation, and enhanced network performance.

Newbie517762 Lv5Posted 09 Jun 2023 09:32
A layer 2 switch operates at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model and uses MAC addresses to forward frames between ports. It is used to segment a LAN into multiple broadcast domains.

A layer 3 switch operates at the network layer (layer 3) of the OSI model and uses IP addresses to forward packets between ports. It is used to segment a network into multiple subnets.
Farina Ahmed Posted 09 Jun 2023 16:59
The main difference between a layer 2 switch and a layer 3 switch lies in their respective functionalities and the scope of their operations within a network. Here's a brief comparison:

Layer 2 Switch:

Operates at the Data Link Layer (Layer 2) of the OSI model.
Forwards traffic based on the MAC (Media Access Control) addresses of devices.
Uses MAC address tables to make forwarding decisions.
Performs Ethernet switching and VLAN tagging/untagging.
Provides basic network connectivity and segmentation within a local network.
Does not perform routing functions or make decisions based on IP addresses.

Layer 3 Switch:
Operates at both the Data Link Layer (Layer 2) and the Network Layer (Layer 3) of the OSI model.
Incorporates the features of a layer 2 switch along with additional routing capabilities.
Uses IP addresses for routing decisions in addition to MAC addresses.
Maintains routing tables and performs IP routing.
Can route traffic between different VLANs and subnets within a network.
Supports Layer 3 protocols such as IP, ICMP, OSPF, BGP, etc.
Enables inter-VLAN communication and provides advanced network functionality.

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