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Discussion in 'macOS' started by fab5freddy, Jun 10, 2008.
Can anyone tell me the Difference between
a Router and a Switch when networking 2 Macs ??
When in doubt, Google it!
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.
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.
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.