Symmetric and Asymmetric Switching

Symmetric and Asymmetric Switching
In this topic, you will learn the differences between symmetric and asymmetric switching in a network. LAN switching may be classified as symmetric or asymmetric based on the way in which bandwidth is allocated to the switch ports.
Symmetric switching provides switched connections between ports with the same bandwidth, such as all 100 Mb/s ports or all 1000 Mb/s ports. An asymmetric LAN switch provides switched connections between ports of unlike bandwidth, such as a combination of 10 Mb/s, 100 Mb/s, and 1000 Mb/s ports. The figure shows the differences between symmetric and asymmetric switching.
Asymmetric switching enables more bandwidth to be dedicated to a server switch port to prevent a bottleneck. This allows smoother traffic flows where multiple clients are communicating with a server at the same time. Memory buffering is required on an asymmetric switch. For the switch to match the different data rates on different ports, entire frames are kept in the memory buffer and are moved to the port one after the other as required.
On a symmetric switch all ports are of the same bandwidth. Symmetric switching is optimized for a reasonably distributed traffic load, such as in a peer-to-peer desktop environment.
A network manager must evaluate the needed amount of bandwidth for connections between devices to accommodate the data flow of network-based applications. Most current switches are asymmetric switches because this type of switch offers the greatest flexibility.


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