Edge Switch

What Does Edge Switch Mean?

An edge switch is a switch located at the meeting point of two networks. These switches connect end-user local area networks (LANs) to Internet service provider (ISP) networks.


Edge switches can be routers, routing switches, integrated access devices (IADs), multiplexers and a variety of MAN and WAN devices that provide entry points into enterprise or service provider core networks.

Edge switches are also referred to as access nodes or service nodes.

Techopedia Explains Edge Switch

Edge switches are located closer to client machines than the backbone of the network. They query route servers for address resolution when destination stations are outside attached LANs.

Edge devices also convert LAN frames into asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) cells and vice versa. They set up a switched virtual circuit in an ATM network, map the LAN frames into ATM frames and forward traffic to the ATM backbone. As such, they perform functions associated with routers and become major components in a LAN environment with an ATM backbone.

On the other hand, edge devices also translate between different types of protocols. For instance, Ethernet uses an asynchronous transfer mode backbone to connect to other core networks. These networks send data in cells and use connection-oriented virtual circuits. IP networks are packet-oriented, so if ATM is used as a core, packets will be encapsulated in cells and the destination address converted to a virtual circuit identifier.

Edge switches for WANs are multiservice units supporting a wide variety of communication technologies including Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDNs), frame relays, T1 circuits and ATMs. Edge switches also provide enhanced services such as virtual private networking support, VoIP and quality of service (QoS).


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse 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 explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…