A network switch (also called switching hub, bridging hub, and, by the IEEE, MAC bridge) is networking hardware that connects devices on a computer network by using packet switching to receive and forward data to the destination device.
A network switch is a multiport network bridge that uses MAC addresses to forward data at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. Some switches can also forward data at the network layer (layer 3) by additionally incorporating routing functionality. Such switches are commonly known as layer-3 switches or multilayer switches.
Switches for Ethernet are the most common form of network switch. The first Ethernet switch was introduced by Kalpana in 1990. Switches also exist for other types of networks including Fibre Channel, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, and InfiniBand.
Unlike repeater hubs, which broadcast the same data out of each port and let the devices pick out the data addressed to them, a network switch learns the identities of connected devices and then only forwards data to the port connected to the device to which it is addressed.