With all the new technology at work in today’s business world, it’s little wonder that it can sometimes be a bit confusing. New terminology seems to pop up all the time, and just as you are getting used to it something else pushes it aside, taking its place and requiring you to learn yet more new terminology! It can all be pretty confusing. There are, however, some technologies that are so indispensable they stay with us, and we are going to focus on two of them today in order to clear up any questions as to what their purposes are: the ethernet switch and the router.
The component that allows all of your other devices to connect to and communicate within your network are called ethernet switches. They bring together your computers, printers, servers, IP phones, point-of-sale registers, and much more, all the devices that you need to operate within your LAN, or ‘local area network’. Every time you open a document on your computer and then send it to be printed on a printer located in another part of your office, an ethernet switch is what makes it possible.
Today’s other important component is the router, which uses switches to form a high-performance LAN where all the connected devices can access the internet or other networks. A router efficiently directs LAN traffic by prioritising devices and users and is a requirement for maintaining a fast and seamless network service. The router is where all the devices on the internal network connect to the Internet and each other. It also connects any small networks, made up of a single switch, to other networks, which expands the network’s capacity and coverage. A router additionally makes decisions on which devices take priority on the network, and which switches the information will travel through on its way from Point A to Point B.
To put it in different terms, a switch can be compared to a London underground station on a line (your local area network). A router is like the main terminal at London’s Waterloo Station where multiple tube lines meet and the passengers can enter or exit the system, or transfer between lines.
Most businesses depend on the Internet to conduct daily transactions, which requires a router. Small businesses without a computer network only need to have a router. Larger, networked businesses need both a router and an ethernet switch.