Thread Contributor: Kayo
Differences between routers, switches, hubs, and modems
#1
Before I start explaining the differences between these networking devices let me first lay down some small understandings that will help. Just like how you and I all have addresses that help people distinguish directions to our houses and which ones are ours the internet has addresses as well for similar purposes. If you ever heard of an IP (Internet protocol) address then you have heard of this occurrence! So with this being said there are different versions of IP's as well as there are several different layers of such. For now I am only going to cover what is know as an IPv4 address. I'm sure most if not all of you are familiar with these. This stands for Internet protocol version 4. So where exactly does the four come from you may ask? IPv4 has four different sets of numbers within it, each separated using a period. This looks similar to as follows: "142.13.135.3". Within each group of numbers there can be anywhere from 0-3 numbers. These numbers range from anywhere as low as 0 to as high as 255. This is what computers use as their addresses. As I mentioned before there are several layers of such. For now I'm just going to be talking about internal IP addresses and very shortly about external. There are much more then just those two but none of that is necessary to know for such topic. Your network whether it be at home, work or even school has something called internal IPv4's. This is exactly as sounds. These addresses are especially and only for your local networks use. Each node (or client) within a network is assigned it's very own unique IP address. Since it is not necessarily needed I will just say this about external IP addresses. Just like how your network has it's own system of addresses your network if connected to an ISP (internet service provider) is part of a similar yet larger networking system. This works much like a web or chain you could say. All of these separate networks are assigned an external IP address. This is what the ISP and other connections refers to your network as. This Set IP will be different than your local IP addresses. the way computers and other devices communicate over networks is by means of packets. Basically before sending data your device breaks the data down into these so called packets which are then sent to the destination and reassembled back into usable information. Now lets get started...

What is a router?-
 As I said before each device within a local network is assigned its' very own unique IP address that your network uses to refer to it. Well the job of the router is actually to assign these addresses to each device connected to it. Without it there would be no means of organization within a network.

What is a switch?-
 Above I stated that routers assign addresses or IP's within local networks. You could say a switch is much like a mailman. What the switch does is fairly simple. It extends the amount of network ports a network has as well as sort all packets (information). Next the switch then only sends the information to the node (device) of which it is intended for. This keeps things organized as well as speeds things up unlike a hub which I shall cover next.

What is a hub?-
 A hub could be called a lazy switch. The purpose of a hub is to add connection ports to the network. Unlike a switch a hub does not sort any information. Instead a hub spews out all information (packets) to all devices connected on it. Making it much slower and less secure than a switch.
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 Anyway sorry if I got carried away in the beginning of this thread. I'm sure most of you already know a lot of this information but if you didn't know any bit of it I surely hope you learned something.



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