What Is a Fast Ethernet Switch?
By Michael Hintz
To understand what a fast ethernet switch is, first you'll need to understand two separate networking terms: "fast ethernet" and "switch." Put together, they make a tool that sends out data at high speed over a network.
Fast Ethernet Definition
"Fast ethernet" is a term sometimes used to describe ethernet implementations faster than 10 megabits per second (Mbps).
A "switch" is a hardware device that filters and transmits packets of data through a computer or a network of computers. Ethernet cables are plugged into it on one end and into a computer or other network device (such as a printer) on the other end.
Types of Fast Ethernet
Fast ethernet is more commonly called 100BaseT, the 100 Mbps version of ethernet, or 1000BaseT or Gigabit Ethernet, the 1000 Mbps version.
Switches vs. Hubs
Switches have a significant advantage over hubs because they can filter and send data specifically to the computer or device on the network that needs the data, rather than to other hardware that is connected, making network usage much faster.
Switches vs. Routers
Routers contain more complex software to manage data transfer over a network than switches, making them ideal for routing large amounts of incoming and outgoing broadband Internet data.
Faster Internet Accessibility
Most fast ethernet switches are now capable of using both 10 and 100 Mbps speeds, and if connected to a computer or network that is designed for higher speeds, allows for faster Internet accessibility.
Michael Hintz is a technically inclined individual with a penchant for the English language. Having recently graduated from Eastern Michigan University, where he wrote for the school's newspaper, he is now looking for full-time writing and editing work while building his online writing portfolio at sites like eHow and Answerbag.