Whats the difference
Whats the difference between a router and a switch? Doesn't a switch just split a internet/lan line to several people? Or am I thinking wrong? I thought if I plugged say 8 PC's into one network switch I could be able to LAN all those PC's? can someone clear this up for me thanks!
A switch just allows traffic to be switched on the same network or vlan (not including layer 3 switches) a router can actually route traffic between different networks which is why they are used for networks. However most home routers are actually used in a gateway mode. Switch = layer 2 device Router = Layer 3 Device Now a layer 3 switch allows for the switch to route between networks. But if your wondering if you need a router/gateway or a switch for your home internet the answer is you need a router as most switches can't do the router/gateway function and layer 3 switches are considerably more expensive. Something from Linksys-cisco/netgear/asus/buffalo/dlink etc would be fine. As for your question. If your connected them all up to a switch you will need to either manually configure the ip and subnet masks to match ,manually or use a DHCP server (usually included on a router or you could download one from the internet) As long as all the computers are on the same network then it should work fine. A switch is better than a hub since a switch doesn't send all the traffic it receives out on all ports only on the port where the data is going.
The easiest analogy I can come up with would be the difference between a home vs office setup for phones.
Home phone setup (switch) has all the phones on the same phone #, and only one can be used at a time.
An office phone setup (router) has all the phones on the same MAIN phone number, but each individual phone has it's own extension. The main number will get you to all the phones in the office, but only if you know the extension of the person you need to talk to.
In a computer setup, that's how the router acts like the firewall. If someone hits your outside IP address it only gets as far as your router. The router looks at all traffic coming in. If the inbound request was not already asked for then it simply just ignores it. All the computers inside the network with the (usually) 192.168.x.x IP addresses are completely hidden, as that is the extension number. You can't hit that computer directly.
.... just like you can't dial 452 extension and get the person you want to get without FIRST dialing the main #. The extension number (and in this analogy the 192.168.x.x IP address) are not usable on the phone or internet network.
Anyway, that's my best, and simplistic, way of looking at it.
Switches connect two networks whereas routers provide the path of transferring the information from one network to another.
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