Hardware switch

A hardware switch is a virtual switch interface that groups different ports together so that the FortiGate can use the group as a single interface. Supported FortiGate models have a default hardware switch called either internal or lan. The hardware switch is supported by the chipset at the hardware level.

Ports that are connected to the same hardware switch behave like they are on the same physical switch in the same broadcast domain. Ports can be removed from a hardware switch and assigned to another switch or used as standalone interfaces.

Some of the difference between hardware and software switches are:

Feature

Hardware switch

Software switch

Processing

Packets are processed in hardware by the hardware switch controller, or SPU where applicable.

Packets are processed in software by the CPU.

STP

Supported

Not Supported

Wireless SSIDs

Not Supported

Supported