Comparing Layer 2 and Layer 3 Encapsulation

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Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches each make decisions about how to handle units of data, known as frames (Layer 2) and packets (Layer 3). A frame is a Layer 2 encapsulation, while a packet is a Layer 3 encapsulation. For example, Ethernet is used for a Layer 2 frame encapsulation, while IP is used for a Layer 3 packet encapsulation.

Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches both read the destination address (DA) field. Layer 2 uses the frame DA field to make switching decisions, while Layer 3 makes switching decisions based on the packet DA.

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