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Definition - What does Switching mean?

Switching, as applied to networking and IT, is the practice of directing a signal or data element toward a particular hardware destination. Switching may be applied in various formats and can function in diverse ways within a greater network infrastructure.

Techopedia explains Switching

Switching hardware pieces or switches can operate in different ways. These devices can use multiple layers of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model for data. A switch that uses more than one layer is a multi-layer switch.

An example of a switching setup includes a residential gateway, which is used by Internet Service Providers (ISP) and other parties to deliver a signal to an individual destination, such as a home or piece of property. Another example is an Ethernet LAN, which uses a media access control (MAC) address to route data to a specific workstation.

Some experts contrast the switch with the less precise hub, which delivers a signal to all linked destinations in the LAN or other network.

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