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Question about a piece of tech I recieved today


flamesfan
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Today at work I was offered a Catalyst 2950 Desktop Switch for free, I was not too sure what it was used for but as they were just going to trash it, I figured I take it anyway. Now here's the question what is a switch used for? I will be probly selling it or making a trade with a friend for something tech related but I was wondering if I could use it for anything first before I sell or trade it.

Any help would be good!

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Basically a switch is like the intelligent bigger brother of a network hub. You plug a bunch of networking kit in to it (desktops, other switches/hubs, servers, etc) and its job is to send all the packets where they need to go. In short, it gives you a ton of extra network ports to play with.

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It is used for networking first of all (hope you figure this part out).  It filters network traffic using the second layer of the OSI model, simply put:  It filters network traffic by the MAC address.  A hub works by taking data that is sent to it, and forwarding that data to every component connected to the hub, then the device or computer that the message was sent to reads it, and all other devices ignore the data.  This creates a likely hood of data collisions, and the extra info that is ignored by different computers wastes system resources, it also increases network traffic, as every message sent to it is received by every computer.  A switch works by taking the data sent to it, analyzing the MAC address, and checking its table of MAC addresses with the switch port associated with it.  The switch then sends the data through to that port, thus reducing the chance of network collisions, freeing up bandwidth, and system resources.  Thus a switch is the much preferred method when networking computers, it also offers more security, as no one on the network can simply plug into it and analyze network traffic.  Think of it this way:  When a message is given to a receptionist, a hub would make a page to the entire building and say "John your pizza is here", all other people would here the "John" part and ignore the rest.  Versus a switch receptionist would get the message and forward it to John's private line, thus reducing waste time.  Your particular switch uses the Cisco IOS which is a operating system used to interact with the switch, and requires a bit of knowledge to use and can be a bit tricky for the novice.

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I didn't mean to scare you off, there isn't too much initial setup.  And if you are networking a home, or have network needs it is a great device.  It only starts to get complex when you do more advanced things like VLAN's.  Chances are if you plug it in you can use it fine.

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If you do a factory reset it will work just like any normal switch, which is what I used mine like for some time. But, you can also do things like tagged vlans which I've just decided to integrate into my network.

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Mainly because I can and learning how will be fun, but its good for security. Between me and  my dad we have about 30 machines and 3 seperate LANs here. My plan is to integrate them into 1 larger network.

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