Layer 2 and Layer 3 industrial Ethernet switches

Layer 2 Vs Layer 3 Industrial Ethernet Switches: What’s The Difference?

2 minutes, 7 seconds Read

If you’re in the industrial automation business, then you’ve probably heard of “Layer 2” and “Layer 3” switches. But what does this mean? What are the key differences between the two that make them such a great tool for industrial applications? In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of Layer 2 and Layer 3 Ethernet switching, differences between them, and which type is better suited for your specific application. We hope that by understanding these two technologies, you will be able to make an informed decision when choosing a switch for your industrial automation project.

Layer 2 Industrial Ethernet Switch

Layer 2 industrial Ethernet switches can be used to connect devices on a local area network (LAN). These switches work at the data link layer of the OSI model and can forward traffic based on MAC addresses. Layer 2 industrial Ethernet switches are typically used in small networks or in networks where security is not a major concern.

Layer 3 Industrial Ethernet Switch

Layer 3 Industrial switches are used to segment a network and create virtual LANs (VLANs). A layer 3 switch routes traffic based on the IP address, which means it can be used to connect devices on different networks. Layer 3 switches also have the ability to perform Quality of Service (QoS), which means they can prioritize traffic based on importance.

When to Use a Layer 2 Industrial Switch

Layer 2 industrial switches are best used in applications where data needs to be transferred between devices on the same network. They can also be used to connect devices to the internet or to a VPN.

When to Use a Layer 3 Industrial Switch

Layer 3 switches are used in industrial Ethernet networks when traffic between devices needs to be routed. Devices on a layer 3 network are assigned IP addresses, and the layer 3 switch routes traffic based on these addresses. This type of switch is often used in large networks, where there are many different subnets and devices need to communicate with each other.


Layer 2 and Layer 3 industrial Ethernet switches offer different capabilities depending on your network requirements. Depending on the size of your business, you may need to opt for one type or another in order to properly support your network traffic. It is important to understand both types of switch technology, their advantages and disadvantages, so that you can make an informed decision about which will be best for your organization’s needs. Taking into consideration all aspects of the layer 2 vs layer 3 debate should lead you toward making a wise choice when it comes time to purchase new networking equipment.

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