Router or Switch?

Discussion in 'Windows Desktop Systems' started by Fenris, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. Fenris

    Fenris OSNN Senior Addict

    Messages:
    267
    Been too long since my CISCO classes and I can’t remember the difference between a Router and a Switch. At the moment I have DSL connected to one computer and I want to connect it to another computer. I would also like to use the internet at the same time. So which one would I need and which brand is better?

    I'm assuming I will want a router for this, but I still am not sure about what brand. Are some better than others, or is it all preference?
     
  2. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

    Messages:
    4,252
    Location:
    UK
    I'd recommend Netgear DG834 (wireless) DSL modem+ 4 port router.

    EDIT: It's usually down to individual's preference, but also it's to do with reliability of the products made by the manufacturers.
     
  3. ThePatriot

    ThePatriot -=[BOHICA!]=- Political User

    Messages:
    1,742
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    You'd most likely want a router, preferably with a built in 10/100 switch...maybe even 1000 if you have Gigabit Ethernet equipment. Alot of new machines have Gb nics in them. Brother-in-law and I both use DLink brand routers, his has 4 ethernet 10/100 ports and a built-in print server. Mine has 7 10/100 ports. A switch would most likely not be what you want, unless you have internet connection sharing going on one machine and are connected to the other via usb or another nic. I hear alot of good stuff about Linksys brand routers, but I've never used one. We use high-end SonicWall brand Router/Firewalls at work, but there a bit pricey for me. Check the local BestBuy or Circuit City and see what they have to offer. It's mostly preference in my opinion.
     
  4. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

    Messages:
    4,252
    Location:
    UK
    Linksys IMO is in a bit of a grey area. Heard a number of disappointing comments about their products in the past two years, but I've always thought they are a respectable brand. I've purchased a Linksys wireless router for my Netgear DG814 DSL modem/router. It's worked fine so far, but I find it a bit difficult to configure compared to Netgear products.

    One other thing I like to add - Linksys is made by Cisco (or is associated with Cisco).
     
  5. Fenris

    Fenris OSNN Senior Addict

    Messages:
    267
    alright thanks for the quick replies ill check the diffrent ones out at the store. I tried wireless once cant stand it too many cutoffs right when i need it so im going wired this time around.
     
  6. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

    Messages:
    5,291
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    There are two kinds of router technology. One is a switch and the name of the other escapes me right now. The difference is the switch forces sharing of the network bandwidth and the other lets one user hog the whole bandwidth. Go with the switch it's more friendly to multiple users.
     
  7. omg its nlm

    omg its nlm lvl 17 Hax Folding Team

    Messages:
    1,829
    Location:
    Minnesota
    He needs a router and I am not sure about that bandwith thing, never head of it. :confused:
     
  8. Fenris

    Fenris OSNN Senior Addict

    Messages:
    267
    Well i got a linksys this morning set it up everything works fine thanks for the help :)
     
  9. Glaanieboy

    Glaanieboy Moderator

    Messages:
    2,626
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    You are 'switching' :)D) things here. You have routers and switches/hubs. Routers are used to allow one network to connect to another. The Home appliance you mostly see, is that a router is used to connect the internet (one network) to the home network (the other network). The router routes packages from one network to another, if requested.

    Switches/hubs however, are used to expand the existing network. For example, you have 2 computers connectly (directly) to eachother and you want to add another one. Then you buy a little box called either a hub or switch (I'll get to the difference later), in this little box all wires come together to form a larger network.
    The difference between a switch and hub, a hub is a device which receives signals and splurts them to every other computer on the network. When there is a lot of network-traffic, this can decrease the overall bandwidth. A switch is a little more smarter, it can see to which computer in the network the signals should go, and send it directly to that computer. As you may guess, this means that when there is a lot of traffic, the bandwidth won't decrease as much as with a hub.

    Nowadays, hubs and switches don't have that much difference in price between them, so choose a switch when building a network. Or, as already is said by ming, when connecting the internet and allow internet sharing, you'll need a router with a built in switch.
     
  10. dave holbon

    dave holbon Moderator

    Messages:
    1,014
    Location:
    London England
    This courtesy of (ask-leo.com) may help as I had always been taught that they were in fact the same except for intelligence. However my knowledge is now many years out-of-date

    Hubs, switches and routers are all devices which let you connect one or more computers to other computers, networked devices or to other networks. Each has two or more connectors, called ports, into which you plug in the cables to make the connection. Varying degrees of magic happen inside the device, and therein lies the difference. I often see the terms misused, so let's clarify what each one really means.

    A hub is typically the least expensive, least intelligent, and least complicated of the three. Its job is very, very simple: anything that comes in one port is sent out to the others. That's it. Every computer connected to the hub "sees" everything that every other computer on the hub sees. The hub itself is blissfully ignorant of the data being transmitted. For years, simple hubs have been quick and easy ways to connect computers in small networks.

    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. Routers come in all shapes and sizes, from the small four-port broadband routers that are very popular right now, to the large industrial strength devices that drive the internet itself. A simple way to think of a router is as a computer that can be programmed to understand, possibly manipulate, and route the data it’s 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. All routers include some kind of user interface for configuring how the router will treat traffic. The really large routers include the equivalent of a full-blown programming language to describe how they should operate, as well as the ability to communicate with other routers to describe or determine the best way to get network traffic from point A to point B.

    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) and 100mbs, and will automatically detect the speed. If the device is labelled 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.


    :)
     
  11. scriptasylum

    scriptasylum Moderator

    Messages:
    832
    Location:
    Des Moines,IA
    I'm using a Linksys wireless (802.11g) router/4 port switch daisy chained with another (wired-only) router/4port switch. I had to disable DHCP on one of them, but they work like a charm. No problems at all for the several months I've been using them. I have 3 computers and a laptop on the network and transfers/internet seem to run really well. The laptop might drop to about 1/2 signal strength at the ends of the house (wireless router is in the basement about centered in the house), but with a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 54Mb/sec, Internet is still plenty fast. BTW: I have so many ports so I could wire every room with CAT5. :)
     
  12. sean.ferguson

    sean.ferguson Moderator Folding Team

    Messages:
    1,693
    Location:
    Fife; Scotland
    thats not entirely true, the hubs and switches themselves handle a network very differently from each other also. they also are not exactly purchase to expand a network, a large network can still be achieved using a workgroup, the majority of reasons why a hub or switch is purchased and used is to implement a client-server star topology. Providing much better security as each user isnt responsible for there own files, but the server administrator is. This increased security benifits networks in many ways which i dont see the point of going into at this time.

    Routers as Glaanie stated is to route accross domains or sub-domains, primarly linking different networks together. The internet is a large network, so if you wish to connect a home network to an ISP a router is best suited, if network a small number of pc's in the home, a workgroup is possible but a small client-server based network is usually preferred

    [edit]
    Wireless networks as good as they are, are still very "touch and go"
    The simplest thing can bring the whole network to a stand still, if something whether it human or otherwise comes in-between the line of communication from the WiFi cards and Access Points the network will subsequently crash. The positioning of the W.A.P is also very crucial as you want to get a good signal going to every workstation within your network.
    Setting up a wireless network is easy but keeping it running smoothly can be a bit of a task
     
  13. Mainframeguy

    Mainframeguy Debiant by way of Ubuntu Folding Team

    Messages:
    3,763
    Location:
    London, UK
    yes

    agreed - from experience - but the wired part will remain stable (and knowing that may help)....

    to sum up routers are a good WTG - better than MoDem, but adding wifi remains a little unstable - largely software related IMHO (O/S trying to catch up with diverging hardware- not as bad as the DVD nightmare though... OMG there's two threads I could spawn - better go to sleep :eek: )

    Hope I helped work this thread to closure first tho'
     
  14. sean.ferguson

    sean.ferguson Moderator Folding Team

    Messages:
    1,693
    Location:
    Fife; Scotland
    i dont want to put anyone's ability down, but i have to dissagree wi-fi is stable *if* configured correctly it can be a very good network topology. Human error IMO is a large factor... W.E.P being the biggest culprit :)