Unmanged vs Managed Ethernet Switches
When an ethernet switch receives data, it reads the address of the device for which the data is intended, and then routes the data out to only the port to which that device is connected, this technology avoids the frequent data collosions that occured with older "hub" technology.
Unmanaged switches provide basic switch functionality and nothing more. Managed switches allow for custom configurations through built-in "web pages" that provide the ability to configure, manage and monitor the network. Managed switches provide much greater control over how the data travels over the network and also allows control over which devices have access to it. Managed switches provide monitoring via the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). The SNMP protocol facilitates monitoring network-attached devices to check the overall health of the network and check the status of an individual device. An additional important feature of a managed switch is Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) which provides redundancy in the network allowing for an alternate path for data should a cable or connection fail.