The router and switch are widely used in our daily life, but what is the difference between router vs switch? If you want to know, then you are in the right place. In this post, MiniTool will give you a deep understanding of router vs switch.

Both the router and switch are computer networking devices, but what is the difference between switch and router? In the following text, you can get detailed information about switch vs router.

What Is a Router?

As a networking device, a router can connect computer networks. Routers are the main force for transmitting data packets between networks to establish and maintain communication between two nodes on the Internet.

a router

The router is connected to two or more data lines from different IP networks. When a data packet enters one of the lines, the router reads the network address information in the packet header to decide the final destination. Then, using the information in its routing table or routing policy, it directs the packet to the next network in its journey.

Tip: You may be interested in this post – Modem VS Router: What Is the Difference Between Them?

What Is a Network Switch?

The network switch is also called switching hub, bridge hub, or MAC bridge. It connects devices on a computer network. The switch uses the MAC addresses to forward the data to the correct destination. The switch is considered a Layer 2 device that operates at the data link layer. It uses packet exchange to receive, process, and forward data.

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What Is the Difference Between Router VS Switch?

What is the difference between a switch and a router? This part has compared several aspects between router vs switch. Now let’s take a look.

Routers are used to connect wired or wireless networks, while switches are used to connect wired networks. Routers are more complicated devices compared to switches.

Traditional routers aim at joining several area networks (LAN and WAN). The router acts as an intermediate destination for network traffic. They receive TCP/IP packets, look inside each packet to confirm the source and destination IP addresses, and then forward these packets as needed to make sure that the data reaches its final destination.

Besides, routers often proceed network address translation (NAT), which enables all devices on the subnetwork (for example, all devices in the home) share the same public IP address. At last, routers with built-in firewalls can improve network security.

As a small hardware device, the switch can connect multiple computers within one local area network (LAN). The switch cannot connect to multiple networks or share an Internet connection.

A home network with a switch must designate a computer as an Internet gateway, and the device must have two shared network adapters, one for the home LAN and one for the Internet WAN. Using a router, all home computers connect to the router equally and perform the equivalent gateway functions.

After getting some basic information about router vs switch, now the following table lists some other differences between switch and router.

LayerNetwork Layer (Layer 3 devices)Data Link Layer
Speed1-100 Mbps (wireless), 100 Mbps – 1 Gbps (wired)10/100 Mbps (wireless), 1 Gbps (wired)
The address used for data transmissionIP addressMAC address
ConnectionsIt connects to several computers or networking devices via Ethernet or WiFi.It connects to several computers or networking devices via Cat5, Cat5e.
SecurityIt provides security measures to protect the network.Port security

Bottom Line

Router vs switch? What is the difference between them? After reading this post, you should know that routers can connect wired or wireless networks, but switches can only connect wired networks.

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