Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
A layer 2 switch is a type of network switch or device that works on the data link layer (OSI Layer 2) and utilizes MAC Address to determine the path through where the frames are to be forwarded. It uses hardware based switching techniques to connect and transmit data in a local area network (LAN).
A layer 2 switch can also be referred to as a multiport bridge.
A layer 2 switch is primarily responsible for transporting data on a physical layer and in performing error checking on each transmitted and received frame. A layer 2 switch requires MAC address of NIC on each network node to transmit data. They learn MAC addresses automatically by copying MAC address of each frame received, or listening to devices on the network and maintaining their MAC address in a forwarding table. This also enables a layer 2 switch to send frames quickly to destination nodes. However, like other layer switches (3,4 onwards), a layer 2 switch cannot transmit packet on IP addresses and don’t have any mechanism to prioritize packets based on sending/receiving application.