Routers and Switches – Networking Basics

First of all “What is a  router ?”

router
router

Router is a device that transfers data packets along different networks. Not necessary that the network is bounded with wires. It can also be a wireless network. Routers are placed at gateways. Gateway is a place where two or more networks are connected.

What is a switch ?”

switch
switch

A switch is a smaller hardware that connect different computers to form a network.

Difference between router and switch

Routers and switches are devices that allows you to connect one or more that one computer  to different other computers or  networks. These contains different connectors known as ports where you can insert cables to form a network.

ROUTER is a most complicated and smart working part of networking in today’s world. Routers are available in all sizes and shapes right from a 4 port to 64 ports. 4 port routers are generally used in broadband connections while the larger port routers are highly used in big industries, ISPs which drive the internet itself. The largest producers of Routers is CISCO:- we built human networks. Traditional routers are designed to connect multiple networks (LAN and WAN). The basic function of router is to understand, manipulate and route the packets and signals they are asked to transmit. Router consists of a console port where the switch is connected. Router can be accessed using different commands eg: telnet. But accessing a router is not so easy as it is highly protected with the help of firewalls. Router are the devices which can connect two different work station situated at different places. eg if a XYZ company is situated in India and ABC in USA the router of XYZ can connect to ABC and share all rights and privileges.

SWITCHES are of small specifications than that of routers. Switch is a device that only connects different computers available in the workstation. eg, i have a cyber cafe ABC which has 10 computers. It is not possible to create a connection similar to peer-to-peer connection, because in this case it is not possible to create an entire workstation. Hence switch is used, it enables us to connect all the computers and access each computer by each other computer individually. Switch pays attention to the traffic and manages it accordingly.

Benefits of routers

  1. Integrated security
  2. IP Communications
  3. Wireless

Benefits of switches

  1. bandwidth
  2. Converged services support
  3. uninterrupted access
  4. protection

The pic below will help you in understanding in detail the exact connection of a computer, switch and router.

connection
connection

This article is a part of a unique series to know about networking and building your own network at home. Check all posts in Learn Networking Series.

9 thoughts on “Routers and Switches – Networking Basics

  • March 19, 2013 at 12:37 am
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    thanks, it will help a lot for beginners……

    Reply
  • April 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm
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    PLEASE EXPLAIN IMPORTANT CONCEPTS ABOUT OPERATING SYSTEM

    Reply
  • August 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm
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    nice explanation for routers and switch

    Reply
  • February 19, 2010 at 12:11 am
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    Good post prateek. although just show the simplistic idea of switch. Switches can work in layer 3, and include IDP/IDS modules between other. They can became very powerfull and support really big core networks.

    Reply
  • June 21, 2009 at 4:48 pm
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    Sorry earlier comment has a minor miskake…

    Hi, Router and Switch are different in many other ways too. Our computer network works on a five layered protocols
    5. Application Layer (HTTP,ftp)
    4. Transport Layer(TCP, UDP)
    3 Internet Layer (IP)
    2 Link Layer(Ethernet)
    1. Physical layer

    Router is layer 3 device, it delivers packets using ip address(200.1.2.3)
    But Switch delivers packet using mac address(1e:dd:fe:23:45:21), every computer has a unique mac address.

    For smaller private networks switches are used, for example computers inside your company would be connected to each others using switches but there will a single(can be more) routers those will be connecting your company network to the outside world.

    when you connect to other computer inside you company network switches only can do this work. but for outside network You need a router. Router are more expensive than a switch.

    Reply
  • June 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm
    Permalink

    hi, Router and Switch are different in many other ways. Our computer networks work on a five layered protocols
    5. Application Layer (HTTP,ftp)
    4. Transport Layer(TCP, UDP)
    3 Internet Layer (IP)
    2 Link Layer(Ethernet)
    1. Physical layer

    Router is layer 3 device, it delivers packets using ip address(200.1.2.3)
    But Switch delivers packet using mac address(1e:dd:fe:23:45:21), every computer has a unique mac address.

    for smaller private networks switches are used, for example computers inside your company would be connced to each others using router but there will a single(can be more) routers those will be connecting ur company network to the outside world.

    when you connect to other computer inside you company network switches only can do this work. but for outside network You need a router

    Reply
  • June 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm
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    onething i like in your article is that they are brief and upto the point,
    being a begginer in networking , they were really helpful,

    Reply
  • June 13, 2009 at 8:14 am
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    Really a Good Description of both switch & Router For those who are not know any thing about routers & switchs .

    Reply

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