How does a network switch work as compared to a router?
Switches allow different devices on a network to communicate. Routers allow different networks to communicate.
A router also connects networked computers to the Internet, so multiple users can share a connection. And a router acts as a dispatcher. It chooses the best route for information to travel, so that it's transmitted as efficiently as possible.
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Switches are a key component of many business networks, as they connect multiple PCs, printers, access points, phones, lights, servers, and other hardware. Switches allow you to send and receive information (such as email) and access shared resources in a smooth, efficient, highly secure, and transparent manner.
A network switch—not to be confused with a light switch or a Nintendo Switch—is a box that you connect to your home router to gain more Ethernet ports. Think of it as functioning like a USB hub but for networking.
Because home routers usually come with three or four Ethernet ports built in, and because almost everything on a home network—laptops, phones, game consoles, streaming boxes, and smart-home accessories—uses Wi-Fi anyway, most people don’t need a network switch. But a switch is useful if your router doesn’t have enough Ethernet ports (like the Eero mesh router, which has only one port free after you've connected your modem), if you have a lot of wired devices in one place (such as in an entertainment center), if you’re trying to use wires to improve your speeds or cut down on wireless interference, or if you’re installing Ethernet ports in your home’s walls.
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