'switchport'The 'switchport' command tells the switch (usually a Multi-Layer Switch or MLS) to treat the port as a layer 2 port, i.e. as a member of a VLAN and to allow it to switch frames and learn MAC addresses etc., as well as participating in all other layer 2 processes such as spanning-tree.
'no switchport'The 'no switchport' command tells the switch to treat the port as a layer 3 interface, so that you can run a routing protocol, add an interface IP address (or other layer 3 address) and create sub-interfaces, none of which is possible on a layer 2 interface. If you try running this command on a layer 2 only switch (e.g. a 2950) it will not understand it and reject it as 'incomplete', as shown below:
ALS1#conf tA routed port does not belong to a VLAN as far as the MLS is concerned because it has no concept of VLANs at layer 3, just a like a port on a router. However, on a MLS each VLAN also has a layer 3 interface: the VLAN interface, also known as an SVI. This is created on an MLS when the VLAN itself is created.
Enter configuration commands, one per line. End with CNTL/Z.
% Incomplete command.
On a pure layer 2 switch, such as the 2950, there is only one layer 3 interface: this is the 'VLAN1' interface (an SVI) that you configure to allow management connectivity.
ALS1#show run int vlan 1
Current configuration : 67 bytes
no ip address
no ip route-cache