Switch Or Router?

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
What's the difference? Which one is faster or better?


  • Reply 1 of 5
    bellebelle Posts: 1,574member
    It really depends on what you're using it for. Connecting individual computers, printers, and servers, connecting LANs, connecting LANs to WANs or an internet connection...
  • Reply 2 of 5
    A switch is more or less a hub. A router extends your broad band internet connection to other computers.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    Imagine a water source like that which serves your sprinkler system. In this analogy, water is like data.

    With a hub- all the sprinklers would get equal water pressure at the same time. They would all trickle. The more sprinklers, the lower the flow to each one.

    With a switch, the sprinklers that needed more pressure would get it when they asked for it... it is sort of like on-demand service. In the data world, switches allow much more efficient sharing of available bandwidth.

    Routers are a much higher level. Routers don't just share data, they look at the traffic to examine its destination, then pass it along the best path [route]. There is no analog in the water system, unless it is the city water supply which opens and closes mains and valves depending on which supply lines are full, and which are in demand.

    Routers also can create dynamic addressing and mask your outbound address so that you are invisible or anonymous to the world beyond the router. Most of what we call hardware firewalls are actually specialized routers.

    If you don't need all the features of a router, a switch is usually faster, as it doesn't care about the content of the traffic, it just moves it to the requesting device as quickly as possible.

    What problem are you trying to solve?
  • Reply 4 of 5
    The one you just did, Thanks
  • Reply 5 of 5
    You can get intelligent switches that can be setup to perform advanced functions, such as routing, on a port by port basis. They're pretty pricey. My 3COM switch like this went for about two grand a few years back.

    In my apartment, I have a netgear broadband router with 100T switches behind it.
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