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Gigabit Switch vs Fast Ethernet Switch



Do you know what’s the difference between gigabit switch and fast ethernet switch? This article can help you have a better knowledge of them, then you may have a clear idea to choose for your network solutions without hesitation anymore.

Gigabit switches and fast ethernet switches are the two main types of network switches that are commonly used in local area network (LAN) environments. These switches are designed to facilitate data communication within a network by allowing multiple devices to transmit data simultaneously.  Fast Ethernet switches support data transmission speeds of up to 100 Mbps, while gigabit switches can transmit data at speeds of 1000 Mbps to gigabit networks. This makes the gigabit switch much more efficient and reliable for handling large amounts of data traffic within a network. By using these switches, businesses, and organizations can create fast and reliable networks that can support their data communication needs.

What is Gigabit Switch?



A gigabit ethernet switch allows a large number of devices to connect to a local area network (LAN) and transfer data at a speed of 1000 Mbps to gigabit, which is also known as gigabit speed. There is a wide range of gigabit switches that differ in functionality, most of these switches perform as L2+ class, but also L3+ class. 


The parameters for gigabit ethernet can provide valuable insight into how the technology works. Typically, a gigabit ethernet switch is designed with multiple gigabit ethernet ports ranging from 24 ports to 48 or more, and each port on the switch can be used to connect a device to the network. Meanwhile, gigabit switches own powerful data reception and forwarding capabilities that meet the high-speed requirements in network hubs, different models of switches equipped with various intelligent fans also ensure smooth and reliable data transfers. In addition, for most engineers, gigabit switches are an ideal choice benefits of low power consumption, which coincides with the Energy-saving requirements.


Gigabit ethernet switches are commonly in where high-speed data transfer is required, such as  IP metropolitan area networks, large campus networks, and enterprise networks. Certainly, advanced functionality plays an important role in various applications. What does an ethernet switch do ? Gigabit ethernet not only can be easily managed by  CLI, and web management but also supports QoS, ACL, and DHCP to ensure high security. what’s more, gigabit ethernet comes with modern functions including POE, MLAG, VXLAN, EVPN, and VARP, all these features allowing high performance and flexible network solutions.


What is Fast Ethernet Switch?



A fast ethernet Switch also known as a desktop switch enables the forwarding of data packets at a fast ethernet speed of 100 Mbps. Typically, the 10/100 ethernet switch offers layer 2 and layer 2+ functions and works on various applications in small to medium-sized businesses, schools, small offices, home offices, and other organizations where a fast and reliable network connection is essential. 

Compared with gigabit switches, it simplifies the configuration with 6 or 8 ports due to the lower connection requirements, providing relatively modest data forwarding capability. As a network device targeted at small businesses, a FastEthernet switch realizes a fanless design, making it an ideal choice for environments that require a low-noise solution.

Typically, the cost of a FastEthernet Switch is much lower than that of a gigabit ethernet Switch. This makes it an attractive option for home networks and small businesses that need a reliable network connection without incurring a high cost.


Gigabit Switch vs Fast Ethernet Switch, what’s the Difference? 

Forwarding Rate &Switq'sching Capacity

Forwarding and switching capacity are two critical factors that determine the performance and efficiency of a gigabit switch. Gigabit switches and fast ethernet switches set the main difference here. Gigabit switches can transmit data at a rate of up to 1,000 Mbps, while 10/100 ethernet switches operate at a maximum speed of 100 Mbps. This means gigabit switches are ten times faster than fast Ethernet switches. In the same way, a gigabit switch provides a superior switching capacity and forwarding rate than fast Ethernet, enabling lots of switching requirements. For example, QSFPTEK offers a  gigabit switch S7300-48X2Q4C that runs at 1920Gbps switching capacity and 1440 Mpps forwarding rate, but a fast ethernet comes with 6 ports, it maybe performs as 20Gbps and 15 Mpps. Though fast ethernet switches may be the ideal choice for smaller networks or home use, Gigabit switches are typically required for larger, high-speed networks. 


 The following are some of the differences between Gigabit switches and Fast Ethernet in terms of feature set:

PoE (Power over Ethernet): Compared to Fast Ethernet switches, Gigabit switches are more commonly equipped with PoE functionality, which allows them to provide power to connected devices, but not available for fast ethernet switches.


Link aggregation: Again, Gigabit switches more commonly support link aggregation, which means it allows multiple physical connections between switches or devices to be combined into one logical connection, increasing bandwidth and redundancy.


Quality of Service (QoS): Gigabit switches typically have more advanced QoS features that allow better management of network traffic and prioritization of certain types of data, which we can not find from fast ethernet switches.


VLAN support: both types of switches support VLANs, however, Gigabit switches may offer more advanced options to support network segmentation into smaller, isolated groups.


Overall, Gigabit switches are more advanced and offer more features than Fast Ethernet switches. However, they are also more expensive and may not be necessary for smaller networks or those with lower bandwidth requirements.


Generally speaking, Gigabit switches are four times more pricey than Fast Ethernet switches, on the one hand, Gigabit switches carry some electronics that are not available in 100 Gigabit switches to support more flexible and secure features, like high-level driver chips, which means a high ex-factory price. On the other hand, Gigabit switches support faster data transfer speeds than fast ethernet switches and have more advanced features such as Quality of Service (QoS) and Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities. Serving a more demanding network also means a more expensive investment. In the diverse switch market, the price varies from tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, but 100-gigabit switch prices are generally much lower than gigabit switch prices. In addition, many other factors affect the price of both switches, depending on the specific brand, model, etc.



The two types of switches make a great contribution to different applications, Gigabit switches are favored by many enterprises due to their fast speed, high forwarding capacity, security, and high efficiency, even though they are relatively expensive, and in their view, gigabit switches can complete network configuration with half the effort and greatly save human and material resources. Against this, as s desktop switch, fast ethernet switch has the advantage of low cost, and the configuration is relatively simple and easy to operate at the same time to meet the basic needs of the network, which has become the ideal choice for many home networks.

10/100/1000 ethernet Switch & Fast Ethernet Speed, How to Choose?


As shown below, here is the process of Gbps vs Mbps links in the network structure.1Gbps device is used to connect with the central server



Today, together with network systems keep developing, most enterprises are gradually upgrading their legacy switches. For those seeking faster rates and more advanced features, the gigabit switch is the optimal choice. For example, if you want to improve the forwarding rate with a requirement of a QoS feature, then the gigabit switch is the ideal choice for you. Conversely, on a limited budget, a fast switch is suitable for your network. In practice, we have to consider a variety of factors depending on the specific requirements.


Overall, choosing the right switch for your network depends on a variety of factors, including the size of your network, the number of users, and the specific requirements of your business. Keeping up with technology advancements and understanding the benefits of each type of switch will enable you to make an informed decision when selecting the right switch for your network solution.


QSFPTEK is a supplier of a wide range of switches that are commonly used in campus networks and data centers. Gigabit ethernet switches come with modern

features for your options, like PoE, QoS, and so on. including the  S5300 series, S5300-8T2S, and S5300-24T4S could be your ideal choice at an affordable price.


We are glad to help with technical support if any troubles bother you via sales@qsfptek.com.


When selecting switches for a network, it is important to consider the specific needs and requirements of the market and devices. Gigabit switches are a popular choice for faster data transfer and high bandwidth, but they may come at a higher cost. A fast ethernet switch is less pricy that is friendly for a small office. To make sure that a business's network performs optimally while keeping expenses under control, it's crucial to take comprehensive consideration when selecting a switch. But there is no doubt that gigabit switches have always been the mainstay of the market and drive the rapid development of the network in the future.



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