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Difference Between Access and Aggregation Layer Switch

Access and Aggregation Layer Switch: With the development of services, data networking is still upgrading. The networks are built in layers to ease maintenance-related issues. Different types of Ethernet switches paly different roles at different layers of high-capacity networks. Switch in computer network can be divided into access layer switch, aggregation switch, and core layer switch. In this article, we will explore the difference between the access layer switch and the aggregation layer switch.

Part I. Introduction of Access and Aggregation Layer Switch

Before we get to know access and aggregation layer switch, let’s learn what access layer and aggregation layer are first!

The access layer provides users with the capacity of accessing the application system on the local network segment, which aims to solve the visiting demands among users and provide enough bandwidth. In the large network, access layer is also responsible for user management (including address certification, user certification, and accounting management) and user information collection (including users’ IP, MAC address, and visiting logs).

In the real application, the aggregation layer is always omitted if the access layer is relatively short and there is enough access from the access layer. It’s beneficial to reduce the burden of matainmance and better monitor the network. It is the intermediary between the network access layer and the core layer. The aggregation layer has various functions such as policy enforcement, security, workgroup access, routing between virtual local area networks, source address or destination address filtering, etc. It is the place to implement policies. In the aggregation layer, switches that support Layer 3 switching technology and VLANs should be used to achieve network isolation and segmentation.

Access Layer Switch

Access layer switch is the most common switch. It allows terminal users to connect to the network. It connects to WAN directly. Access layer switch is generally adopted in the business office, small machine room, multimedia centers, etc. It mostly provides 10M/100M/1000M ports with self-adaptive capacity. Both managed switch and unmanaged switch can be applied in the access layer.

Access Layer Switch

Aggregation Layer Switch

Aggregation layer switch is a connection between the access layer switch and the core layer switch. It’s an aggregation point of multiple access layer switches. The aggregation switch should handle all data from access layer devices and send them to the uplink of the core layer. Thus, compared with the access layer switch, aggregation layer switch requires higher performance, faster-switching speed and fewer interfaces.

Part II. Application of V-SOL Access and Aggregation Switch

The below image demonstrates the application of the V-SOL access switches and aggregation switches. There are 4 switches in the frame, including aggregation layer switch V3528EF and access layer switch V3528E, V3528-P, andV3552E. All the switches are Layer 3 managed Ethernet switches.


Which layer the switch is placed at depends on whether the switch is an access or aggregation switch.

Passive Optical LAN (POL)/FTTH

In the application of POL or FTTH, as an aggregation switch, V3528EF uplink connects to the OLT. This switch has 16GE ports that can connect to other switches and OLT, 8 GE ports and 4 10GE ports. Apparently, compared with cabling Internet, fewer switches are needed in POL. The optical fiber replaces plenty of switches, which saves the maintenance cost. Moreover, the network is flatter with lower latency.

SOHO, Public zone, and Enterprise

In the application of SOHO, public zone, and enterprise, Layer 3 Ethernet switch V3528E/V3528-P/V3552E works as an access switch. They uplink to the aggregation switch V3528EF and downlink to all kinds of terminal devices.

For example, in the solution for the public zone like highway tunnels, the access switch connects to AP, camera, tunnel broadcast, emergency telephone, etc. In the solution for enterprise network, the access switch connects to AP, PC, and telephone.

Features of Ethernet LAN Switch V3528X:

  • Supports a maximum of 48 GE TX ports and 4 10GE SFP+ uplink ports
  • Carrier-level high-reliability Layer-3 routing functions
  • Advanced hardware architecture and industry-leading port density
  • Varied Service Characteristics Versatile IPv6 Solution Complete Security Mechanism
  • Security: Port isolation, IEEE 802.1x, AAA, Radius and BDTacacs+,  filtrationAnti-attack from DDoS, TCP’s SYN Flood, UDP Flood, etc, and  broadcast/multicast/unknown unicast storm- control.

To sum up, access layer switch works for the access network of devices. It’s the basic equipment of access layer. Aggregation layer switch accepts all data and traffic from access layer and provides more advanced functions. They are different but link to each other. If you are looking for access layer switch or aggregation layer switch, V-SOL would be a great choice due to the high performance of its products.

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