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Layer 2 and multicast aware

I need to add a switch to my existing group of switches. I do not know if Layer 2 and multicast aware are the same thing....

The switch I add must be multicast capable. My current multicast capable switches (3Com) are no longer available and the current replacement says it is a Layer 2 switch and that there is a free software upgrade available to enable Layer 3. The next grade of switch is approximately $1500 more expensive, so I don't want to spend that extra cash unless I must.
Multicasting and Layer 3 switching are totally different concepts, and have nothing in common. So if you are looking for multicast functionality, then you don't necessarily go for a switch with Layer 3 functionality. When you mean you need Layer 2 switches with multicast awareness, that means that your switches should be able to run IGMP protocol. So search for a Layer 2 switch, which supports IGMP, and you will have a multicast aware Layer 2 switch.

This was last published in October 2004

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