Routing Switch

What Does Routing Switch Mean?

A routing switch is a specialized type of switch that also performs many of the tasks of a router.

Routing switches are very similar to a typical router and in many cases they also inspect the incoming/outgoing network traffic, support of all major routing protocols and most of the routing of data/traffic to the next hop/router. However, routing switches also include switching abilities, and can forward data according to a device’s physical address. The main difference between a routing switch and a router is in their hardware structure, as the routing switch incorporates the functionality of both a switch and router but uses hardware routing, whereas typical routers use software routing.

A routing switch may also be known as a Layer 3 switch.


Techopedia Explains Routing Switch

Routing switches are an innovative amalgam of two core networking devices, allowing them to achieve greater capability and performance. A routing switch can perform nearly all the same operations as a router and switch by transmitting data on LAN using Layer 2 switching techniques, and over distant LAN by integrating Layer 3 routing operative methods.

Routing switches were introduced into the market to improve the network traffic optimization in organizational wide LAN, which spread over many nodes and smaller LANs. The Layer 2 switches didn’t provide the required efficiency in transferring data over largely dispersed LAN; therefore, Layer 3 switches not only manage the traffic within a single LAN segment, but they also provide optimal performance in managing and transporting data over distant corners of the LAN. Routing switches’ hardware-powered routing capabilities provide for faster and better performance in a variety of scenarios. Routing switches can also be a cost-effective alternative to routers.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.