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Switching and Routing

Routing and switching are the basic functions of network communication. Routing and Switching are different functions of network communications. The main differences between Routing and Switching are as below.


The function of Switching is to switch data packets between devices on the same network (or same LAN – Local Area Network). The function of Routing is to Route packets between different networks (between different LANs – Local Area Networks).


Switches operate at Layer 2 of the OSI Model (Datalink Layer). A switch knows where to send a data packet by using Layer 2 addresses (MAC address – hardware address of a network adapter). A switch maintains a table of MAC addresses (MAC Address table or CAM Table) and what physical switch port they are connected to. The Switching function can be explained more simply that, Switching is the function of moving data packets (Ethernet Frames) within the same LAN (Local Area Network).


Routers operate at Layer 3 of the OSI Model (Network layer). A Router knows where to send a packet by using Network part of the destination IP address. A Router maintains a table called Routing Table and uses the routing table to determine the route to the destination network.

Types of Network Switches

There are mainly two types of switches in the network, which are given below:


Unmanaged Switches

The unmanaged switches are mainly used for basic connectivity. These are mostly used in small networks or wherever only few more ports are required, such as at home, in a lab, or in a conference room. In unmanaged switches, there is no requirement for any configuration, which means by just plugging in, they will work.


Managed Switches

Managed switches are more secure than unmanaged switch, and provide other features and flexibility because we can easily configure them to custom-fit our network. Hence, we can have the greater control, and can also better protect our network and improve service quality for those who access the network.

Types of Network Routers

Light travels down a fiber-optic cable by bouncing repeatedly off the walls. Each tiny photon (particle of light) bounces down the pipe like a bobsleigh going down an ice run.


Now you might expect a beam of light, traveling in a clear glass pipe, simply to leak out of the edges. But if light hits glass at a really shallow angle (less than 42 degrees), it reflects back in again—as though the glass were really a mirror.


This phenomenon is called total internal reflection. It’s one of the things that keeps light inside the pipe.

Advantages of Switch

A switch is a networking device, which provides the facility to share the information & resources by connecting different network devices, such as computers, printers, and servers, within a small business network.


With the help of a switch, the connected devices can share the data & information and communicate with each other.


As we know, each networking device contains a unique MAC (Media Access Control) address. When a device or computer sends an IP packet to another device, then switch put the IP packet with source MAC address and destination MAC address, and encapsulate it with a Frame, and then send it to another device.


When Frame reaches the destination device, it is stripped, and the device gets the IP packets and reaches only that device, which matches the entered destination MAC address.


  • It enhances the available bandwidth of the network.
  • It can be directly connected to the workstations or devices.
  • Enhances the performance of the network.
  • Networks with switches have less frame collision, and it is because switches develop the collision domain for each network.
  • It helps in reducing the workload on the individual host such as PCs.

Advantages of Router

There are mainly two types of the router, which are given below:


Wireless Router

Wireless routers are the most commonly used routers in offices and homes as they don’t need any wire or cable to connect with networking devices. It provides a secure connection, and only authenticated users can access the network using the id & password. Using wireless router, internet can be accessed by the n number of users within the specified range.


Wired Router/Broadband Router

As its name suggests, it requires a wire or cable to connect to the network devices. Such routers are mostly used in schools or small offices to connect the PCs with the Ethernet cable. It also has a Wi-fi access point, and a mobile phone can be connected to it using the VOIP (Voice-over-Internet Protocol) technology. It is connected to the ADSL modems to take the transmission data from the modem and distribute it to a further network.


The wireless routers are mostly used that enable most networking devices to connect easily at any time, without the worry of a bunch of wires.

  • It can connect with the different architecture of the network, such as Ethernet cable, Wi-fi, or WLAN.
  • It provides highly secure network access with password protection.
  • It reduces the network traffic with the help of the collision feature.
  • It provides data packets to the correct destination with the best route using the routing table and intelligence.

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