What is the difference between router and switch?



A switch sorts and distributes the network packets sent between the devices on a local area network (LAN), while a router is a gateway that connects two or more networks, which can be any combination of LANs, wide area networks (WAN), or the Internet. In addition, a router uses tables to determine the best path to use to distribute the network packets it receives, and a protocol such as ICMP to communicate with other routers. A router is a significantly more complicated device than a switch--essentially a specialized computer--and more advanced models may use a reconfigurable operating system such as Linux, rather than firmware coded directly into the hardware. Both routers and switches operate on layers 2 and 3 of the OSI model.

In an enterprise environment, routers and switches are separate physical devices dedicated to their specific tasks. However, typical "broadband routers" for the home and small office are actually multifunction devices that combine the capabilities of a router, a switch, and (usually) a firewall into one box. In addition to routing traffic between the Internet and the LAN, they also handle switching for packets between devices on the LAN, and often add additional features such as port forwarding and triggering, a DMZ, a DHCP server, a DNS proxy, and/or network address translation. In addition, "wi-fi routers" add a wireless access point.

Note: A hub is even simpler than a switch. Instead of inspecting the packets that it encounters and sending them to the correct destination device, it just forwards them to all connected devices.

In short, Router routes any traffic comes to it & Switch provides local services to local user's in LAN but some special Switches are out their that work for both LAN & WAN. They are much expensive and used by the big Organizations.


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