Does an Ethernet switch have an IP address?

– Copied from customer query –

Do these switches by chance have an IP address? We use Net Pinger in our subsea application to help debug any communication issues with have with all out connected devices.

Ethernet switches are layer 2 devices, so they don’t have any concept of IP addresses. In other words, the are IP address unaware.

This means they do not have an IP address. A router, which is a layer 3 device, would have an IP address.

On your net pinger, you would see all devices on the switch, but not the switch itself.

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I thought I’d post an update to this answer to clear up some confusion.

Some ethernet switches do have IP addresses. This is because they contain a processor inside that has an IP address which configuration data can be sent to, for configuring the switch.

In the strictest sense, an ethernet switch is a layer 2 device, but there are switches on the market that have a processor onboard which allow it to come up with an IP address.

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And to clarify further - none of the botblox switches has such a processor. Some are equipped with configuration processors, but these are configured via UART, not via IP layer. And so far it seems to me botblox is not heading the way of providing IP configuration interfaces (which is okay, and is probably a price to pay to get such small devices).

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Yup, current BotBlox switches do not embed any processors and thus have no IP awareness.

There are some plans on the roadmap to start adding this.

Rugged SoM is a board that stacks onto SwitchBlox Rugged to implement IGMP Multicast. While this isn’t full switch management using an IP address, it’s a start in that direction (implementing IGMP multicast requires Rugged SoM to be IP aware.

Rugged SoM will embed an IMX6 ULL running some flavour of lightweight embedded linux.

We’re also toying with the idea of embedded an ethernet enabled processor onto a new UbiSwitch Baseboard. Such a design would have the process connect to one of the MAC ports on UbiSwitch, and also the processor would break out its own ethernet port. In this configuration, the embedded processor would have an IP address, and could implement all management functions on the IP layer.

This is most likely where we’ll go, but getting the software working will take some time. In general I believe we’ll see a strong move towards the software aspect over the coming year.

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Sligthly OT: Sooooo, OpenWRT? :slight_smile: GitHub - wireless-road/imx6ull-openwrt: OpenWrt sources for IMX6ULL based SoM - NetSoM

@aaron what’s your opinion? Would we ever want to use OpenWRT?

This is definitely something I’m considering for the RuggedSOM after we’ve managed to add IGMP support to the firmware running on the processor! The benefits are that we can use an out of the box management UI (LuCI) that comes with OpenWRT, which answers the earlier question about configuration via the IP layer. Whether we add this functionality through adding OpenWRT packages to our firmware build or some other method is open at the moment.

The ability to configure the RuggedSOM through serial will also be present.

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Great to hear that you’re considering openwrt. We’re running it on a couple of devices and we’re quite happy with it. The bonus is you find tons of documentation or Q&A online.

Regarding rugged SOM, I was just wondering how do you plan to get the SPI bus to it as it doesn’t seem to be present on the extension header… Or does the switch support configuration via tail-tagged packets?

SwitchBlox Rugged Rev F has an expanded stacking header that adds two pins for I2C. Rugged SOM will send management commands over I2C.

Rugged SOM itself will have USB, RS485 and Serial ports on board for sending commands to it.