Core Switch

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What Does Core Switch Mean?

A core switch is a high-capacity switch generally positioned within the backbone or physical core of a network. Core switches serve as the gateway to a wide area network (WAN) or the Internet – they provide the final aggregation point for the network and allow multiple aggregation modules to work together.

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A core switch is also known as a tandem switch or a backbone switch.

Techopedia Explains Core Switch

In a public WAN, a core switch interconnects edge switches that are positioned on the edges of related networks. In a local area network (LAN), this switch interconnects work group switches, which are relatively low-capacity switches that are usually positioned in geographic clusters.

As the name implies, a core switch is central to the network and needs to have significant capacity to handle the load sent to it. There isn’t a precise definition as to how powerful this is, but clearly it is much bigger than an average desktop switch.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

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.