How does a router differ from a switch

Both Switch and Router are network equipment, but they are very different. Below is information about what such devices are and how they differ from each other.

What is a switch?

Switch is a switch that provides direct interaction of several gadgets via Ethernet. Such equipment transmits information only to the recipient directly: the network is localized.

How does it work

  1. Stores a patch plate in memory, which displays which port corresponds to the node’s MAC.
  2. When the device is turned on, the table is empty: at this time, the equipment is learning. While the switching device is “learning”, the data that goes to one of the ports is transmitted to all the others.
  3. During training, the switch examines frames (frames) and identifies the MAC that belongs to the sender of the data. This information is stored in the table.
  4. Then, if a frame, whose address is already in the table, arrives at one of the switch ports, the device will transmit the frame through the port that it remembered.
  5. If the device is not familiar with the MAC from the recipient, then the frames will be sent to all ports except the one from which they were sent.

This way of working leads to complete localization of the network and high rates of speed at which the device sends information.

Switches are divided into 2 types:

  1. Unmanaged – all parameters are pre-registered in the firmware: the setting is not available to the user.
  2. Managed – equipped with a microprocessor, you can make changes to the settings, for example, to separate the network using VLAN. They are more expensive.

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What is a router?

A router is no longer just a switching device, because it is responsible for uniting all nodes that enter the network, and transfers information packets between them.

A router (the second name of this device), unlike Switch, is capable of working with various networks, since it belongs to those devices that operate at OSI layer 3.

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Operating principle

  • The router works with the recipient’s address, which is indicated in the header of the data block. The information stored in the routing table specifies the path along which it will transmit them. If it is not indicated, then the device will discard the packet.
  • In addition to the above method, the device can determine the path using the sender’s IP, as well as other information that is displayed in the headers of the info packets.
  • Modern routers are able to translate the addresses of both the sender and the recipient. In addition, they are able to act as a filter in terms of access (if the administrator has specified restrictions), encrypt information.

All these features of the router make it possible to reduce the load on the network. Such equipment is used mainly to unite different types of networks, for example, Ethernet and WAN.

Interesting : as a router, you can use not only a special device, but also an ordinary PC and even a smartphone . However, one should not expect a high connection speed.

On the topic: How a router works: the principle of operation and the device of a router in 6 sections

Difference between switch and router

The main difference between a router and a switch is related to functionality. So, switches are needed so that two or more computers can exchange data within one network. Routers, on the other hand, are more complex devices: those PCs that are part of different networks can also exchange data.

Both devices work with tables, but routing tables are more complex than switching ones. The principle of operation of devices, of course, differs. A switch, unlike a router, transmits information at the request of the sender to the computer that is marked as the recipient, and cannot independently join the global network.

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With the help of a router, all computers on the network can communicate with each other via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. At the same time, it works not only on the local network, but also gives access to the connected devices to the Internet.

In addition, routers differ from switches in that they have a large set of functions. So, they can act as a firewall, protecting the connection, encrypting data and address translation, which provides a higher level of network security.

In addition, devices operate at different OSI layers. The switch is on the second, and the router is on the more advanced third. This means that the switch not only receives signals, but also monitors the contents of the data packets to determine the destination MAC address. The router monitors packets in order to find out the IP.

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In general, both devices are designed to connect gadgets into one network. But the difference is big. It is summarized below.

Peculiarities Router Switch
OSI Model Layer Third Second
Works with addresses IP MAC
Works with the network local, global only local

As you can see, a router is more advanced than a switch. It is more sophisticated, but more functional, and the network protects better.

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