So the question is in the title.

If a switch does not support Virtual Local Area Network capabilities can it still be considered a managed switch?

What other features should it have to be considered managed switch besides VLAN capabilities?

  • 1
    Do you have a specific brand and model of switch in mind ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 10:56

2 Answers 2


Yes. A managed switch is a switch you can configure in some way or other. Whether it supports VLANs or not is not the question. Even a switch (or a hub for that matter) that only provides status information can be considered "managed". However, the vast majority of managed Ethernet switches do support VLANs.

There are countless other features than can be configured on a switch, e.g. port parameters (duplex, speed), PoE, LACP/LAG, spanning tree, ACLs, routing, authentication, access, multicast/IGMP, QoS, MVRP/GVRP, SNMP, SPAN/mirroring, ...

Even devices where you can barely configure a thing can be called "managed". In the previous millenium I used managed HP EtherTwist repeater hubs(!) where you could do little more than configure the IP interface and check some counters for collision, jabber and such.

  • I used a 3 port managed switch that did not support VLANs merely to measure the total amount of traffic passing through it.
    – Joshua
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 20:16

Yes, "manageable" obviously refers to the fact that you can manage the switch, rather than to one specific feature such as VLAN.

Among other things, some useful features such a switch could have:

  • examine MAC address table
  • spanning tree protocol
  • disabling / enabling specific ports
  • manually setting the duplex and speed of a port
  • port aggregation (802.3ad - LACP)
  • (MAC-based) access list

The last two are less likely to be present on a non-VLAN capable switch since they are quite advanced features and one would expect VLAN capabilities on a switch that already provides those kinds of features.

This said, most manageable switches are actually VLAN-capable.

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