Difference btw. Router & Switch....?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by fab5freddy, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. fab5freddy macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2007
    Heaven or Hell
    Can anyone tell me the Difference between
    a Router and a Switch when networking 2 Macs ??

  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    A switch simply provides packet switching on a network. A router provides routing between 2 networks. You are probably referring to a broadband router: this combines a router to route between the Internet and the local network and a switch connected to the local network side of the router.

    Ignoring the internet connection there are no real differences.
  3. captainbeefheat macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2006
    Best way to describe it, I think, is that a switch just links computers together. A router on the other hand allows computer components like printers and modems to be shared without the need to be connected through a computer themselves.

    So for instance if you have a USB modem you connect into a Mac or PC, to share that connection you could just use a switch, which will share that connection as long as the computer the modem is connected to is turned on. Same goes for sharing a printer for instance.

    A router on the other hand keeps the Internet connection open itself, so is a much more convient way to share a connection.
  4. poisonapple macrumors member

    May 7, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Lots of answers, but the simple, to the point answer is this:

    Router == Layer 3 (IP Address) forwarding
    Switch == Layer 2 (MAC Address) forwarding

    if your Macs (or any IP machine for that matter) are on different subnets, then you need a router.

    If you Macs (or any other IP machine for that matter) are on the same subnet, you can use a hub, bridge or switch.

    Also, there are translational bridges that allow say Token Ring to talk to Ethernet.

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