What is an Ethernet switch? What is an Ethernet switch? What’s the difference between an Ethernet switch, a router, hub or network switch? Learn how to choose the right one for you.
Network technicians will often use the terms Ethernet switch and network switch interchangeably. However, each device performs a different function on the network. Have you ever wondered how an Ethernet switch works? This guide will provide an overview of the performance of each device on a network, so that you can choose the right one for you
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What is an Ethernet Switch
Let’s first discuss the role that an Ethernet switch plays in your network. This switch is also known as a network switch. It acts as a central point for computers, printers, and any other wired network devices to communicate with one another. An Ethernet cable can be connected to the router to allow you to connect to the internet via the modem. Although some routers can be used as both a router and a network switch, the router is able to perform a different function than the switch. The router, hub, and switch are all separate devices that can be used to create a modular network.
Comparison of an Ethernet Switch and a Hub
The hub functions in the same way as an Ethernet switch. All devices connected to the network from the home or office will be wired to the hub. The switch will track the plugged-in devices that are connected to the network using their Media Access Control addresses (MAC) addresses. It will then send received frames (packets containing data sent as one unit) to the designated port, without causing lag. The hub will distribute its bandwidth equally between all ports. This is not an issue if only one PC or a handful of devices broadcast on the network. However, if multiple devices are connected to the same hub (10/100Mbps), this can cause performance problems.
NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged switch
Comparison of a Router vs. a Network Switch
A router connects a network to another via a modem. Most connections are LANs (Local Area Networks), or WANs. The router is usually located at the network’s gateway and will perform the function to route or pass on data packets. Data packets include the destination IP addresses. This allows routers and modems communicate using ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol). This protocol determines the best path to transmit data packets over the network from their destination point. Users can share files and use printer-sharing services between wired and wireless devices that are connected to the network via a switch. Although switches do not have network protection built-in, routers often have hardware-based firewall protection. This allows you to configure your home network or office to provide optimal connectivity.
Comparison of an Ethernet Switch and a Router
A router allows you to share one IP address with multiple network devices, while a network switch connects multiple devices and networks to extend the LAN. The Ethernet switch creates networks, while the router connects to networks. Most routers only have one LAN port and one WAN port. A switch, however, will have multiple ports that allow different devices to communicate with each other within the LAN. The router will enable PCs and other connected devices access the internet and other networks. Wireless routers can transmit Wi-Fi signals to other wireless devices. This can be used to allow laptops and other mobile devices to connect to Wi-Fi networks. It also allows access to Wi-Fi printers that any user logged in to the network can use. An Ethernet switch can only be used with devices that are wired to it using an Ethernet cable.
You can combine different types of routers, hubs, and switches to create a wired or wireless network. A hub is a good option for connecting a few devices to your LAN. An Ethernet switch is a better choice than a hub if you need more connections. Because received frames are only directed to active devices on the network, there is less lag with an Ethernet switch that is used with multiple devices.