Routers vs. Switches vs. Access Points – And More





Routers, switches, access points, modems, hubs, bridges…what is the difference between all these network devices?!

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48 thoughts on “Routers vs. Switches vs. Access Points – And More

  • Okay so my router & modem are downstairs in my house right, but I want ethernet on my PC, but I have an ethernet port on my wall, so would it be an access point I wanted to connect to that port or is the port not linked with the one downstairs?

  • If I wanted to get something for my ps4 to get LAN connection and it will only be for my ps4 nothing else what should I get router modem? Idk

  • My modem has one output ethernet port in the basement. My router is upstairs, and I want to hook up 2 wired devices in the basement. Can i connect the ethernet switch directly to the modem and then have the modem connect to the switch, along with the 2 devices in the basement? Or do i have to hook up the router to the modem and the switch to the router, and then the 2 devices to the ethernet switch? thanks!

  • You could have mentioned that all those things operate on different layers.

    A hub works on layer 1 is practically just sticking several cables together. So a hub does nothing smart. It's just physically splitting the cables, which then of course results in lots of packet collisions, when two devices send at the same time. Also all devices get all the traffic, which might not be what you want. So this works on a very small scale, but the more devices are tied together like that the worse it gets.
    A switch works on layer 2 (with the ethernet protocol) and addresses the devices by the MAC address. Thus you reduce the packet collisions and devices only get these frames that where meant for them. But a switch does not do any actual (IP based) routing, and because of that devices on a switch need to be on the same subnet to be able to communicate which each other without the help of a router.
    A router works on layer 3 (with the IP protocol) and addresses the devices by their IP address. And a router does actual routing, as in it has a routing table and knows which packet belongs where. It also knows the gateway(s) for outbound traffic.
    If you want to know more about that read up on the OSI layer model.

    Another thing that i would like to point out: Those things at home that we usually call routers aren't actually (just) routers.They are a combination of a modem, often a wifi access point, DHCP servers and yes also a router. And while they did mention that i don't think they made it clear enough. Because an actual router does just that: It routes traffic. And it does that by looking at the destination IP in an incoming packet, looks at a routing table to see where it needs to send it and then sends it that way. A router does just that. Not more, not less.
    I hope that clears up a bit of the confusion in the comments as to why sometimes you just need a modem or a router and a modem or just a router. It's because those "routers" aren't just routers. To connect several devices to the internet you need at least a modem and a router. But often those things are combined into one box.

  • Wait. I have one internet-y device (which was given to me by the internet provider) at home and I'm confused as to what it is. There's a cable coming from outside my home connecting through an Ethernet port to this device, which I guess would make it a modem, but it also has multiple Ethernet ports and it distributes WiFi, which would make it a router? What am I not understanding? What is that device?

  • As an IT guy, I apologize for the confusing lingo.

    Hub = non-switched hub
    Switch = switched hub

    They are both hubs. The one that is switched is called a switch and the one that isn't is called a hub. When they first started showing up, they were expensive and used sparingly and careful in office networks.

  • Remmember router these days have 4 ports instead of ethenrnet 10 Mbps ports he have 2 Fast Ethernet ports 100 Mbps that can connect them with end devices the other 2 ports are :-
    – Console
    – Auxiliary
    con and aux do the same work at beginning these ports only for configuration settings so u cant plog 2 devices on these ports
    So the best way is to connect all devices on the switch , switch at least have 8+ ports I'm talking about managed switch ..
    You can also have a switch with 24 ports maximum is 48 ports
    Common switches model :-
    2950
    2960
    3550
    3560
    3750 GigbitEthernet ports
    4000 core switch
    6500 core switch
    So lets back to our main point , is to connect all devices on this switch by cat 5 or cat 5e cables and one cable from router to the switch .Please feel free to ask me anything or to correct me
    Thank you

  • So say my house (ok fine apartment) has a router. And this router is plugged into my mom’s room’s Ethernet port. My room also has an Ethernet port. If I plug an Ethernet cable into this Ethernet port in my room and my computer, does my computer have an Ethernet connection?

  • Very excellent video. Your talent for explanation is extraordinary. You're helping to make the world a better place by simplifying the tech world for the person who just wants to get online without studying for a CCNA cert. Keep it up!

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