Hi, I'm a college student & my final year project is to upgrade & reconfigure my college network... The college has 700 PC's. It's an adhoc network. I have recommended VLANS. In all there will be 7 VLANS. I want to know which model of Layer 3 switches I should recommend to the college. It shouldn't be very costly. Please give me your suggestions/ recommendations.
Packets at layer 3 are not switched. They are routed.
Switching is what is done with packets at layer 2.
Marketroids and salescritters will often tag a device as a "Layer N Switch" because they believe it will sound better - in olden days it was presumed that "switching" was faster than "routing" so even though what happens at layer 3 is routing they call it switching.
Naming can get really "fun" when multiple functions are combined within a single box :)
Now, having been nitpicky, I'll point to
will have a number of devices with both switching and routing capability. Alas I have no control over whether or not they call routing layer 3 switching :)
I am not so sure how the words are supposed to be defined, but I might say that if it was done at the hardware level, including hardware (or FPGA) implementations of state machines, then I wouldn't mind it being called switching.
Software has to update the tables needed by the hardware. Hardware changes the source and destination MAC address, increments the TTL, and modifies the checksum as appropriate.
That is different enough from software routers that it deserves a different name. I have no idea how layer 3 switches are actually implemented.