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What is the difference between a switch and a Router

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amughnikhan

A switch does essentially what a hub does but more efficiently. By paying attention to the traffic that comes across it, it can "learn" where particular addresses are. For example, if it sees traffic from machine A coming in on port 2, it now knows that machine A is connected to that port and that traffic to machine A needs to only be sent to that port and not any of the others. The net result of using a switch over a hub is that most of the network traffic only goes where it needs to rather than to every port. On busy networks this can make the network significantly faster.

A router is the smartest and most complicated of the bunch.A simple way to think of a router is as a computer that can be programmed to understand, possibly manipulate, and route the data its being asked to handle. For example, broadband routers include the ability to "hide" computers behind a type of firewall which involves slightly modifying the packets of network traffic as they traverse the device.

A quick note on one other thing that you'll often see mentioned with these devices and that's network speed. Most devices now are capable of both 10mps (10 mega-bits, or million bits, per second) as well as 100mbs and will automatically detect the speed. If the device is labeled with only one speed then it will only be able to communicate with devices that also support that speed. 1000mbs or "gigabit" devices are starting to slowly become more common as well. Similarly many devices now also include 802.11b or 802.11g wireless transmitters that simply act like additional ports to the device.