What is the difference between a network switch and a network router?

When it comes to the complexity of the network connectors, you have several levels, with a switch (hub) at the bottom and a router at the top.

A hub is a surprisingly stupid gadget. It accepts a packet from a connected device and transmits it to all other devices. That’s it. Everything that is connected to a hub sees a constant flow of all traffic floating on that hub. It is up to each device to filter out anything that is not intended for it.

This means that: a) only one device can talk at a time, otherwise there are network collisions, b) there is a ton of unnecessary traffic flowing on each port; and c) network security?

A switch is a hub that knows low-level network information (typically, the MAC address) of every device connected to it. If Device 1 sends a packet to Device 2, the switch only repeats that packet to the port to which Device 2 is connected. Devices 3, 4, 5 and 6 do not see it. So device 3 can talk to device 6 while device 1 is talking to device 2, no problem.

A switch knows nothing about the larger network. A switch only knows the devices that are directly connected to it.

A router is a full-fledged network traffic computer. He knows the IP addresses. It can have tables of the best paths to send traffic to remote networks. It includes high level network settings such as IP addresses.

A switch can only send information from one device plugged into it to another device plugged into it. A router can direct traffic to remote networks. It can relay information between several networks or between networks of different types. It can chat with other routers to determine the fastest way to get information about a device that is not connected to it, but is instead connected to another router. It can monitor and shape network traffic.

Is router mode the same as bridge mode?

Now I’m going to be a little more technical. Router mode and bridge mode are different. The difference is mainly from the point of view of the layer.

Bridge mode allows you to connect two routers without the risk of performance issues. Bridge mode is the configuration that disables NAT on the modem and allows a router to function as a DHCP server without IP address conflict.

Basically, NAT allows a single device, such as a router, to act as an agent between the Internet (or public network) and a local network (or private network), which means that only one unique IP address is required. to represent an entire group of computers to anything outside of their network.

Additionally, NAT can provide security and privacy. Because NAT forwards data packets from public addresses to private addresses, it also prevents anything else from accessing the private device. The router sorts the data to make sure everything is going to the right place, making it harder to access unwanted data.

The Good: NAT is relatively effective as a first line of defense against hackers that might invade your system. While it’s not perfect, it’s pretty darn effective.

The bad: Performing web functions that require passing the IP address in the message body can have problems functioning through NAT.

DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and is a network protocol used on IP networks where a DHCP server automatically assigns an IP address and other information to each host on the network so that they can communicate effectively with other endpoints.

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) reservation feature allows the router to reserve the lease of an IP address for the use of a specific device on your network, ensuring that the router does not assign the IP address to other devices on the network.

Connecting multiple routers can extend Wi-Fi coverage in your office / home. But when you have two routers each with their own private Wi-Fi network, your personal devices may have trouble communicating with each other. This scenario is called Double NAT.

In routed mode, it can make routing decisions so that you can change the data path from the device. This is what routed devices typically do. But if you want, you can also extend it to change the headers / functionality of other layers as well.

Let me simplify

A home router typically has one WAN port and one or more LAN ports. WAN port contexts to ISP modem and LAN ports connect to your home equipment.

Home routers have security features like NAT applied to the WAN port and if you have multiple routers they can interfere with each other. So you put one in bridge mode.

Putting a router in bridge mode essentially demotes the WAN port to act as a LAN port. The router then acts as a switch.

Stay protected!

George Cox is the owner of Computer Diagnostics and Repair. He can be reached at 346-4217.

George Cox, PC Periodicals
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