Layer 7 Switch

What Does Layer 7 Switch Mean?

A Layer 7 switch is a network device that is integrated with routing and switching capabilities. It can pass traffic and make forwarding and routing decisions at Layer 2 speed, but uses information from Layer 7 or application layer.


A Layer 7 switch is also referred to as a Layer 4-7 switch, content switch, content service switch, Web switch and application switch.

Techopedia Explains Layer 7 Switch

Layer 7 switch is primarily a type of multilayer switch that works on Layer 2, but also provides additional functionality of higher order layers. The Layer 7 Switch provides faster means of packet switching based on information present at Layer 7 of OSI model. The information can be a URL, a cookie or SSL session ID.

Some of the type of switching services a Layer 7 switch provides includes:

  • Cookie Switching: Forwards HTTP or Layer 7 application request to server or destination based on the information within the cookie header

  • URL switching: Directs application or HTTP request to server or destination using information in the URL text string

  • Session ID Switching: Connects a client to the same server based on the information in the session Id header


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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.