Router and switch both are the connecting devices in networking. A router is used to choose the smallest path for a packet to reach its destination. A switch stores the arrived packet, process it to determine its destination address and forwards the packet to a specific destination. The basic difference between a router and a switch is that a router connects different networks together whereas, a switch connect multiple devices together to create a network. Let us study some other differences between router and switch with the help of comparison chart shown below.
Content: Router Vs Switches
|Basis for Comparison||Router||Switch|
|Purpose||Router connects different networks together.||Switches create a network by connecting several devices together.|
|Layer||Router works on the physical layer; data link layer and network layer.||The switch operates on data link layer and network layer.|
|Work||Router determines the best path that packet should follow to reach the destination computer.||A switch receives process and forwards the packet to intended computers.|
|Type||Adaptive routing and Nonadaptive routing.||Circuit Switching, Packet Switching, Message Switching.|
Definition of Router
Router is a device used for internetworking. A router is used to connect independent LANs together, independent WANs together, or independent LANs and WANs together. A router has a physical and a logical address for each of its interfaces. When a packet arrives at a router’s interface, it has the physical address of router’s interface in its destination field. The router then accepts the packet and before forwarding it changes the physical address in the packet’s source and destination address field. The main purpose of a router is to select the best (shortest) possible path for the packet during transmission. A router operates at the physical layer; data link layer and network layer of an OSI model.
Router has two routing techniques, Non-adaptive routing and Adaptive routing. In Nonadaptive routing, once a path has been selected, the router send all the packets for that destination through that selected path only. In adaptive routing, each time a router chooses a new path for each packet. There are some routing algorithms like Distance Vector routing, Link State routing, Dijkstra algorithm, etc. that computes the shortest and cheapest path for transmission of a packet.
Definition of Switch
A switch is also a networking device and connects multiple devices. A switch connects the multiple devices to create a Local Area Network. As a switch connects the multiple devices together to form a LAN, so it is the responsibility of switch to deliver the arrived packet to the specific device. A switch receives a packet; then it checks the destination address of a packet and forwards it to the outgoing link for that destination if the link is free. The switch operates at the data link layer and network layer.
Switches are classified as a Store-and-Forward Switch and a Cut-Through Switch. When a frame arrives at Store-and-Forward switch, it stores the frame in a buffer till all the frame in a packet has arrived. On the other hand, the Cut-Through switch forwards the packet as soon as the destination address of the packet is revealed. Like hub, a switch never broadcast the packet to all the connected devices instead it forwards the packet to the specific device only.
Key Differences Between Router and Switch
- A router connects different networks like two LANs, two WAN’s or LAN and WAN. on the other hand, a switch connect multiple devices together to create a network.
- Router operates on a Physical layer, a data link layer as well as network layer whereas, a switch operates only on data link layer and network layer.
- The main purpose of the router is to determine the smallest and best path for a packet to reach the destination. On the other hand, a switch receives a packet, process it to determines its destination address and forwards the packet to address the revealed destination address.
- Routing is further classified as non-adaptive routing and adaptive routing. On the other hand, a switching is classified as a circuit switch, packet switching and message switching.
Both the devices, routers and switches are compulsorily used while internetworking