The Difference Between Layer 2 and Layer 3 Services

Links between a network’s distribution and access layer switches can come as either layer 2 or layer 3 services. Businesses looking to start or rebuild a network may be wondering which type of service is better to use. In order to make this decision, a few factors need to be taken into consideration.

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If a business is looking for a network that is easy to set up and doesn’t mind a slower convergence of more than a few seconds, layer 2 services will be sufficient for their needs. However, businesses looking for more advanced features may prefer layer 3 services.

Layer 3 services offer benefits such as equal cost, multipathing, and advanced QOS. They also provide faster convergence rates than layer 2 services, clocking in at approximately 50 milliseconds. The only downside of layer 3 networks is that they are more complicated to manage than layer 2 networks. A layer 3 network will additionally require a user to manage a routing protocol, unlike a layer 2 network, which automatically manages this protocol using a spanning tree.

Ultimately, the type of network your business should use depends on your level of expertise. If you have advanced technical skills and can handle a bit of extra work, a layer 3 network is worth investing in. If you’re less experienced and want something easier to manage, layer 2 services are a better choice for you.


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