Duplex and Speed Settings on Switch

Duplex and Speed settings are the most basic settings for each port of a switch. It is possible that the duplex and bandwidth settings between the switch port and the connected devices no match, just like a computer or another switch. There are two types of duplex settings used for communications on an Ethernet network. Full-duplex and Half-duplex, that we already discuss an earlier chapter.

  • Full-duplex
    Both ends of the connection can send and receive simultaneously.
  • Half-duplex
    Only one end of the connection can send at a time.


Most Ethernet Switches has an auto-negotiation function. This function is also available in NICs. Auto-negotiation makes possible two devices to automatically exchange information about duplex and speed settings. This function helps switch and connected device to choose highest performance mode. If both devices have a capability full-duplex it will set both devices on full-duplex along with their highest common bandwidth.

See Figure 4.5, where PC-1, connected to switch port-1. Both Ethernet NIC  and port can operate in full-duplex or half-duplex, so auto-negotiation set both sides on full-duplex.

The speed of switch is 10/100/1000 Mb/s and PC-1 Speed is 10/100 Mb/s so 100 is the highest common speed for both switch and PC-1, therefore, auto-negotiation set speed for 100 Mb/s for both. Most Cisco switches and Ethernet NICs default to auto-negotiation for speed and duplex. Gigabit Ethernet ports only operate in full-duplex.

duplex and speed settings

Duplex Mismatch

A duplex mismatch occurs when the two communicating Ethernet devices connected with duplex settings that are not the same, either because of manual settings or the auto-negotiation process. Duplex Mismatch down the performance of devices.

Why duplex-mismatch occur?

An example of a duplex mismatch is if one port on the link operates at half-duplex while the other port operates at full-duplex, as shown in Figure 4.6. Duplex mismatches occur when either the Ethernet device or the Ethernet switch is hard-coded to full-duplex and the other side is configured for auto-negotiation. This happens because the switch, when not given any auto-negotiation information, will default to half duplex. This occurs when one or both ports on a link has reset and the auto-negotiation process does not result in both link partners having the same configuration.

It also can occur when users reconfigure one side of a link and forget to reconfigure the other. Both sides of a link should have auto-negotiation on, or both sides should have it off.

duplex mismatch

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