This article explains what a network content switch is and also outlines the main benefits of using them in your business network. This type of switch is very expensive, so it is usually used by medium and large companies.
The main function of a content switcher is to inspect the network data it receives so that it can decide to which part of the network that data (or requests) should be forwarded. Once this is determined, the data is sent to the appropriate server which can handle the data and return a response if necessary. At the network level, the request data is divided into packets.
In most cases, the switch looks to see what type of application or software the request is directed at. It does this by looking at which port the requests are directed to. For example, if the data is directed to an ftp port, the request will be sent to an ftp server. The main benefit of this approach is that the switch acts as a load balancer, in that it can balance data or requests between the different types of application servers used by the business. In simplified terms, an application server is a server that runs an application such as ftp or a mail server.
A second important function that this type of switch can perform is to look at incoming requests and see which websites are targeted. This is important for large companies or hosting companies. If, for example, a web hosting company was hosting several thousand websites, the switch could direct requests to the specific servers on which the websites are running. If this didn’t happen, the hosting company would have to run all the websites on all the servers.
So, in simple terms, a content switcher is a network device used to distribute incoming requests to servers or websites that can handle the requests.