Difference Between Router and Switch

Both of these are connecting devices that help in networking. We use a router for settling on the shortest path through which any given packet can easily achieve its intended destination. There is a difference between router and switch. A router’s main objective is to establish a connection between various networks in a simultaneous manner. Also, it works on the network layer. A switch’s main objective is to establish a simultaneous connection among various devices. It basically functions on the data link layer. In this article, we will discuss the difference between router and switch in further detail. Read ahead to know more.

What is a Router?

A router is a device for computer networking that serves two of the main functions: (1) the creation and maintenance of a local area network (2) the management of data that enters and leaves a network along with the data that moves inside of the network.

In other words, a router assists its users in handling various networks, and it also routes the network traffic present between them. In the case of a home network, a router establishes a connection to the private LAN and establishes another one to the Internet. Also, various routers have various built-in switches. These switches allow a user to connect various wired devices.

What is a Switch?

A network switch is basically a computer networking device that helps in connecting multiple devices on one computer network. One can also use it for routing the information into an electronic form of data (that transmits over various networks). We can also call switches bridging devices because the process of establishing a link between network segments is known as bridging.

Difference Between Router and Switch

Parameters Router Switch
Operating Layer A typical router can easily operate at the third layer (Network) in an OSI model. The switches in a network operate at the second layer (Data Link Layer) in an OSI model.
Services Offered A router can easily offer QoS, NetFlow, and NAT services. A switch does not offer any such services.
Maintenance of Addresses A router stores IP addresses in its routing table and maintains its own address. A switch stores MAC addresses in its lookup table and maintains its own address. But in this case, a switch can easily learn the MAC addresses.
Ports It is a networking device with 2/4/8 ports. It is a type of multi-port bridge with 24/48 ports.
Duplex It is less duplex in nature. It is full-duplex in nature. Thus, no collision occurs here.
NAT It can easily perform NAT. It cannot perform NAT.
Speed Limit It has a speed limit of about 1-10 Mbps (Megabytes per second) for wireless connection and 100 Mbps in case of a wired connection. It has a speed limit of about 10/100 Mbps.
Routing Decision A router helps its users in taking a faster routing decision. A switch will more likely take a routing decision which is way more complex.
Broadcast Domain Every port in a router contains a broadcasting domain of its own. A switch contains a broadcasting domain of its own except the implemented VLAN.
Faster Performance In the case of various network environments (like WAN/MAN), a router will work much faster than the switches. A switch can work comparatively faster than a router when deployed in a LAN environment.
Type of Addresses The operations of a router revolve around the IP addresses. In the case of switches, they work with the MAC addresses. It is because these operate within a single network only.
Wiring of Connections It can easily work with both- wireless as well as wired situations of a network. The uses of a switch are confined to only wired network connections.

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