Smart switches are usually two times the cost of a normal switch. If your network switches are physically in a different room, a different building or a different city, its essential that you use smart switches. Here's why:
1) Web Interface and Ip: You can ping the switch remotely to make sure it is on and responding. In addition you can use a web browser to log onto the switch and see which ports have cables plugged into them, what data volumes are and much more
2) Auto Loop Detection: It will automatically turn off ports that have cables plugged in wrong and are causing network loops that can take down your network.
3) VLAN: Allows you to secure your network by segmenting traffic by port and device so that some devices like phones have no access to (for instance) internet or computer servers.
4) PoE: Powered ethernet is not standard but provides power to devices like phones, ip cameras and wifi access points. With a smart switch, power can be cycled to remotely reboot equipment.
5) SNMP: Smart switches report operational data back to your central network server so you can see how long the switch has been running, how much data is passing through and other useful data.
6) QoS: Voice and video data can be given priority over things like file downloads so that they don't have quality issues.
7) Spanning Tree: Allows redundant links to your network backbone so that if one link fails, the second on takes over. If you try this without Spanning Tree, you will generate network loops that will take down your network.
8) Port Mirroring: Allows you to duplicate traffic on another port so it can be captured an analysed. Its a great support tool that's super useful and impossible without port mirroring.
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