The two most essential components of a network are the router and switch. Although, both are the type of connecting devices in a network and sometimes people assume both are the same. But both of them have different functions. In this blog, we will discuss the difference between a router and a switch.
Table of Contents
What is a router?
It is a networking device used to link multiple devices and their corresponding network to make a large network. These networks may be present in one location or a different location.
- A router is responsible for routing data packets from source to destination over the network. It also provides internet connection from the modem to all the networking devices by a wired or wireless means such as tablets, laptops and mobile phones, etc.
- A router performs two main functions, such as
- It manages the entering and leaving of data.
- The router helps in creating and managing the local area network.
- The router works on the network lines and paths the data packets via the shortest possible path across the network.
- Multiple devices are connected via a router and allows the network devices to access the Internet connection.
Functioning of the router:
Within homes or in offices we have a lot of devices with the router so these devices link to the internet and form a large network. Firstly, a router connects the modem to other devices to allow communication between devices.
- Router way the data packets with the specific or defined Internet protocol address from one network to another. This is done by providing a local IP address to each device over the internet. It makes sure the data is delivered to the right destination instead of getting lost over the network.
- The fastest and the best router selects and send data in the form of packets from a defined path to the devices that are already connected within the network.
- The router works in the same manner as a delivery package sent with a defined address to reach the recipients only.
There are only two types of routers which are discussed below,
It is mostly used in homes and offices where there is no need for any cable or wire to connect the devices to a network. By using the wireless router, a lot of devices are connected within the defined range. It provides a secure connection and only the authentication user has access to the login credentials.
As its name implies it needs a cable or wire for connection. Such routers are mostly used in small offices and schools to connect the computer with the Ethernet cable. The wired router has Wi-fi access points, and a mobile phone connected by using the voice-over-internet protocol technology. It is linked to the ADSL modems to take the transmission data from the modem and then distribute it to the network.
Pros of using a router:
- With the help of the collision feature, it reduces network traffic.
- Highly secure connection with password authentication.
- It directs the data packets to the right destination by selecting the fastest and short path.
- It can connect with the different structures of networks like Wi-Fi and Ethernet cables.
- The wireless router is mostly used to connect devices at any time without worrying about the bundles of wires.
Cons of the router:
- A router helps multiple computers to share data on the same network, which lowers the speed.
- Connection speed becomes very slow when multiple computers are using the same network.
What is a switch?
It is a networking device that helps to share information and resources by connecting different devices such as computers and servers within a small network is called a switch. With the help of a switch a connecting device shares information and communicates with each other. The switch is mostly used in small business networks without switches it is not possible to build a small network.
Types of switches:
There are two types of switches we already discuss in the previous blog if you want to learn more about types of switches click on the link below.
An unmanaged switch provides a basic level of security. Mostly used in small networks where few ports are needed. Such as labs or conference rooms. It is simple just plug and play there is no need for any configuration.
It provides more security than unmanaged switches, besides providing flexibility and more advanced features. Through managed switches, we have control over the network and protect, and improve the security who access the network.
Working of managed switch:
As we all know each networking devices need a specific media access control address. When a computer sends IP packets to another device, the switch puts the IP packet with the destination and Mac address and then sends it to another system or device. When the encapsulated frame the destination device and devices get the packets and reach that device which matches the destination media access control address.
Pros of switch:
- Increase the performance of the network.
- Directly connect to the workstations and devices.
- Enhance the bandwidth of the network.
- It helps reduce the workload on the host device.
- Networks with switches have less chance of collision because the switch has a collision domain for each network.
- It reduces the number of broadcast domains.
- Not so good as the router in limiting broadcast.
- when handling the multicast packets that require quite a bit of designing and configurations.
- Communication between VLANs needs inter-VLAN routing, but nowadays multi-server switches are available in the market.
The main difference between router and switch:
- The basic difference between a router and a switch is that router is used to connect two different networks but the switch is to connect the end devices such as printers, computers, etc.
- A switch is based on the data link layer of the OSI model on the other hand router works on the network layer.
- The switch goal is to determine the destination address IP packet and transfer it to the destination address. On the other hand, the router’s main purpose is to find the fastest and best routes for a data packet to reach its destination.
- There are many switching techniques like circuit switching and packet switching used by a switch. On the other hand, router use two routing techniques which are non-adaptive and adaptive routing.
- Router stores the IP address in the routing table and the switch store the MAC address in the lookup table.
|It links the multiple devices in the network.||the router connects multiple switches.|
|The switch is used within the LAN.||It uses LAN or MAN.|
|Work on the data layer of the OSI model.||The router works on the network layer of the OSI model.|
|Provide only port security||It provides security measures to protect the network from threats.|
|A switch cannot perform network address translation.||A router performs NAT (network address translation)|
|Semi intelligent device||Intelligent network device|
|Work on full duplex and half duplex transmission.||A router works in the full-duplex transmission mode. However, we can change it manually to work on half duplex mode.|
|Switches only perform with wired networks.||It uses both wired and wireless routers.|
|Send information from one device to another in the form of frames, and packets.||A router sends information in the form of data packets.|
|Switches are coming in different ports such as 8,16,48, 64, etc.||A router contains two ports by default, like an Ethernet port. But we can also use the serial ports.|
|It uses the Content Addressable Memory (CAM) table for the source and destination MAC address.||A routing table is used to get the best route for the destination IP.|
Application of router and switches:
Here are the important applications are given below,
- Link different devices with each other.
- Run a firewall.
- Make a local area network (LAN).
- Give access to give you to split your internet connection to all of your devices.
- Packet switching, forwarding, and filtering.
- The router decides where to send information from one device to another.
- Connect to the VPN.
- It manages the flow of data across the network.
- Medium to large-sized lane containing some linked switches.
- Switches are mostly used in small offices and homes. It uses single switches to various broadband services.
- It transfers data from one device to another by using the half duplex or full duplex modes.
- Used in a computer network to connect the devices physically.
As per the above information, we can say that both are important devices for setting up a network and both have their importance and significance. However, small offices and homes need a switch while to connect two networks we require a router.