Use Layer 2 switches or Lay 3 switches?


Use Layer 2 switches or Lay 3 switches?


When you are choosing between Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches, you should ask for several questions.

1.    Is my domain pure Layer 2? If yes, you can just consider Layer 2 switch.

2.    You need the switch to aggregate multiple access switches or not? If you need, then  a Layer 3 switch is needed. This is known as the distribution layer in the network topology.

3.    V-LAN you need?

Below simple table is a simple comparison between Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches.


Layer 2 Switch

Layer 3 Switch

Routing   Function

Mac address   only

Supports   higher routing such as static routing and dynamic routing

VLAN Tagging   Based on IP Address






Using Scenario

Pure Layer 2   domain

Aggregate   multiple access switches


Here we share some Cisco Layer 2 and Lay 3 switches model series for your reference:

Layer 2 switches: Cisco 2960-X, 9200, 9300 series switches

Layer 3 switches: Cisco 3650, 3850, 9400, 9500,9600 series switches