An ethernet switch functions as a central station connecting wired device. It can connect computers, printers or any device with ethernet. Switches can be stand alone and handle 60+ connections. Switches are also embedded in cellular routers to connect about 4 devices.
An unmanaged switch does one thing. It switches, which means it enables devices in a network to communicate. A managed switch allows you to change settings. You can disable unused ports, limit access to your network, limit speed, rank traffic, and more.