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Time: September 14th, 2023

What is switching capacity and how does it affect your daily internet usage in your home and offices? We have explained everything here. 

 What is Switching capacity?

Also termed as backplane bandwidth and switching bandwidth is the maximum quantity of data that can be passed between the switch interface processor and the data bus in the switching device. The total data exchange capability of a switch is represented by the backplane bandwidth, which is measured in Gbit/s.  

The bigger a switch's capacity of switching, the more data it can handle, but the higher the design cost. To achieve full duplex non-blocking switching, the sum of all port capacity ports should be less than the switch capacity. Switching bandwidth is the sum of all ports' input and output bandwidth. So, a 48-port gigabit switch would have 48Gbp/s in and 48Gbp/s out, leaving us with 96Gbps and presumably, 80Gbps as the stacking port rate of the device.

This term is sometimes confused with the forwarding capacity of a device, but this term reflects the fiber optic switches' packet forwarding capability. It is expressed in packets per second and displays the quantity of data packets sent by the switch in one second. Due to the presence of an Ethernet conflict detection system, the frame size of data in Ethernet switches is limited during transmission. Ethernet sends a minimum data frame of 84 bytes. It is determined as the sum of the minimum data frame rate + the preamble bytes + the inter-frame gap. The minimum data frame rate, in this case, is a 64byte+ 8byte preamble bytes+ 12-byte interframe gap.

Why is it an Important Parameter?

This parameter of your device has a direct impact on your network performance and the overall efficiency of the devices connected to them. By this term, one can quickly understand the maximum amount of data a network switch can handle within a specific time frame. There are several key reasons why switching capacity is of utmost importance in networking, we will state three: 

First, which is quite obvious is that it has an impact on the speed at which data can be transferred between devices within this network. So, in short, a higher capacity of switching translates to faster communication. This will reduce latency values and also ensures a smooth data flow. In situations where bandwidth-intensive applications are sucking in all that precious data of yours like cloud services, and multimedia content, this is where the capacity of switching becomes so important. 

Second, is the ability to handle data flow. As networks encounter an increase in data volume due to the rise in bandwidth-demanding applications, a switch can go into a bottleneck state, but higher ones will be able to manage higher data flows. Another important point related to the capacity of switching is that scalability of the networks becomes reliable on this parameter as they expand and accommodate more devices over time, especially in an office environment. As the demand for efficient data transfer grows, higher specs are needed for a switch, and switching capacity is the first among them.

Another important aspect here is that QoS is, as previously mentioned, also impacted by switching capacity. A typical network with sufficient switching can easily prioritize and efficiently manage various types of traffic. This ensures that power-hungry and resource-demanding applications receive the necessary bandwidth they need to perform optimally. This feature helps users to maintain their network with a consistent and reliable QoS level of security while mitigating the risks of congestion in it. 

Into multimedia streaming and gaming? then you might consider switching as it will directly influence the performance of those YouTube videos you love to watch. Moreover, other services like video streaming, VoIP, and online gaming. All these services and applications require low latency and consistent data transmission, both of which are facilitated by a high level of switching levels.


We explained the question "What is switching capacity" and related concepts. In conclusion, it is a fundamental element in building and maintaining a high-performing, scalable, and responsive network for optimal internet use. It directly underpins the network speed, efficiency, and reliability of data transfer. It also enables us to meet the demands of modern applications and services effectively so better keep an eye on when investing on your next device. 

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