What is Layer 3 connectivity and why might you need it in your network?

layer 3 connectivity

Simply put, Layer 3 switches (Layer 3 switches) are valuable tools in enterprise networks because they increase network efficiency, especially when dealing with multiple subnets and VLANs. But what exactly is a Layer 3 switch / Layer 3 connectivity and why would it be important for your network? The following are some important points.

What is a layer 3 network?

Layer 3 connectivity should not be confused with layer 2 connectivity, which has a more limited function. In fact, a layer 3 switch (also known as a multilayer switch) can be compared to a 2-in-1 switch and router.

This means that Layer 3 switches are quite similar to routers in terms of physical appearance and the way they support the same routing protocols and have the same mode of function.

However, unlike routers, layer 3 connectivity has to do with internal hardware components, which are much better and advanced. The internal hardware of a layer 3 switch combines that of a router and a router to provide better network routing performance for local networks. Since they are designed for use in intranets, Layer 3 switches do not have wide area network functions and ports that come with a standard router.

Characteristics of layer 3 routers

Typically, a layer 3 switch has the following characteristics:

  • 24 Ethernet ports, but as mentioned, no wide-area network interface
  • Functions as a switch that ensures connectivity between devices on the same subnetwork
  • It makes use of a switching algorithm used for most simple routed protocols.
  • Operates at OSI Layer 2 and Layer 3 layers

Layer 3 connectivity / switch benefits

Layer 3 switches generally combine the following functions and purposes in a single package:

  • Facilitates routing between virtual LANs
  • It reduces network latency, as packets do not have to be redirected as much.
  • Minimizes transmission traffic volumes
  • Improves traffic segregation by separating routing tables.
  • Simplifies the VLAN configuration process
  • Facilitates troubleshooting and fault isolation

As you can see, Layer 3 switches have a wide range of benefits. According to FCC data, about 21.3 million Americans have neither high-speed nor symmetrical Internet access, with speeds ranging from 25 Mbps downstream to 3 Mbps upstream. The digital divide is real, and while there is still some way to go to close it, it is great news that there are technological improvements such as Layer 3 connectivity to make the world a better place.

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