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Can you make the difference between switches, firewalls and routers?

Written by Mike Roberts. Posted in Computers

Those who are not familiar with the computer field usually confuse some of the parts and the most common confusion appears when it comes to switches, firewalls and routers. It is worth mentioning that each type of device comes with its own upsides and downsides, yet before you resort to a professional company in order to buy some Cisco Catalyst 3750G Series Switches, it is best you know the differences between these three devices.

First, there are routers

Routers are also known as Gateways and they are the first and probably most important element of a network, because they are the ones that provide you with Internet connection. They are usually placed somewhere between the Internet Service Provider (IPS) and have the purpose to determine the amount of traffic to remain in your network and the amount of traffic to pass through to the IPS. Experts refer to them as the backbone of the Internet, because they are essential for browsing the web and communicating without them. Depending on the area you want the router to cover, they differ in terms of size.

Then, there are switches

In most cases, switches do not come with routing capabilities, as they are supposed to be sued inside the network. They are mostly used to facilitate communication between computers and the rest of network devices. It is important to note that devices that are located inside the same network are considered to be on the same “subnet”, which means that the IP address they are connected to shares the first three octets. This is the reason why they do not necessarily have to use a router in order to “route” traffic from one device to another. The range of switches available on the market is quite high and they come with a variety of features meant to make communication between devices a lot easier. In order to ensure you are buying the right type of switch, it is best you do detailed research on the Internet first and learn more about the products available for sale.

Finally, firewalls

Firewalls differ from switches and routers in the sense that they are considered network security appliances. Know that there are two different kinds of hardware firewalls – perimeter and internal. When it comes to the majority of smaller networks, the most common type of firewall used is the perimeter one, which it usually comes with routing capabilities. It controls access and ensures local networks are secured from the outside world. Compared to routers, firewalls can also monitor the traffic between two networks and can block any unauthorized traffic that comes from the outside. You should know that there are some programs that act as software firewalls and that can be installed onto computers or servers and some very good examples are those anti-virus products.

All things considered, these are the main aspects that make the difference between firewalls, routers and switches. It is essential you know these things before you make a purchase because it helps you spend money on things you actually need.