Unmanaged Switch

Unanswered Question
Mar 23rd, 2010

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Kindly correct me if it is wrong.

This may be the simple question but we have confisusion on this.

The unmamageable switches work on layer 1 or layer 2.

As we are not able to manage unmanagable switches and also not able to find the mac address table on this switches.

I have this problem too.
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milan.kulik Tue, 03/23/2010 - 05:36


every switch (bridge) should work on Layer 2.

If working on Layer 1 only, it's a hub (repeater) then.



m.sir Tue, 03/23/2010 - 05:40

Normaly switch is always  L2 device  and it doesnt matter if managed or unmanaged.. Even unmanaged switch can participate in VTP, do mac learning, VLAN tagging , trunking etc.. Switch really cannot be L1 device

Managed switch just have switched virtual interface with ip address to manage it and has no impact on switch funcionality.. For sure it must have mac-address table if you have hsot connected to it.. ARP table of such switch is of course empty because there is no IP to be associate with mac

milan.kulik Tue, 03/23/2010 - 05:59


I'd not say "unmanaged switch can participate in VTP,  trunking etc".

If unmanaged, how would you configure VTP domain name, e.g?

My understanding of "unmanaged switch" term so far was:

It has no interface to configure.

You can use some HW buttons to set duplex/speed, e.g., but no advanced functions like VTP or trunking configurable.



m.sir Tue, 03/23/2010 - 06:08

Dobry den :))),

I understand unmanged switch as you cannot access it directly over  IP but of course can be configured via console from laptop or from terminal access server.. I saw deployements of switches with Out of band management from terminal server only or pre-configured switches without possibility to access it (not really smart but  i saw it) ..  I just wanted demostrate that it doesnt really matter (for switch functionality) if is SVI up or not...I think we should differentiate UNMANAGED vs UNCONFIGURED

Tharak Abraham Tue, 03/23/2010 - 06:06

IMHO, a very low end switch also supports an IP address (cisco/non -cisco)

So not sure what you mean by unmanageable though ?

If its a non-cisco device, then itl be troublesome with common administration like Vlan management or even running .1q trunks or stp.

If you google for switch brand, you may get a default ip to access and the username and pass too

Just connect a pc to the switch , with ip in the same subnet.

Open internet explorer and type in the ip address.

You should be in and seeing the options for the menu.

santosh-khargotre Wed, 03/24/2010 - 05:50


i have not seen any unmanaged switch has consloe port or anyone able to configured the unmanagable switch.

as soon as u have access to console and do any configuration is managable switch.

I just want to know how can we consider the unmanagable switch to be layer 2, as layer 2 switches should be able to built MAC table an take the Forwarding and Filtering decission.

Tharak Abraham Wed, 03/24/2010 - 05:59


Console access will not be there for small and low end ones..true

and you neednt one either !

Just plug in the eth cable from your Pc NIC to any of the port if you'd refer to my previous post.

Please type in the switch brand here, maybe we could try to help you access it !

ravishankar.ram... Wed, 03/24/2010 - 06:32

The unmanaged switches are plug and play devices and have no configuration interface or options.However Unmanaged Switches are Layer 2 devices as each port are in different collision domain using the concept of csma/cd ethernet technologies.

Manageable Switches can be Layer 2 and Layer3 which are configurable to VLAN, STP and so on.


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