Switches vs Firewalls vs Routers

You need to know how each piece of equipment operates and runs when protecting your network. It’s true to say that components of a computer network are often confused because they look the same. However, while they may have similar structures, each one has a completely different role in your network. Operating together they ensure that your network is protected.

The three main pieces of equipment you’ll need to secure a network are:




Each one looks the same with physical ports and status lights but doesn’t let their basic structure fool you. On the inside, these systems are very different, so let’s explore them in a little more detail and establish how they function to form a cohesive system.

A switch is best described as a high-performance hub that is uniquely intelligent. Data goes back and forth between the switch and during this time, the box records the MAC addresses. These addresses are unique identification numbers for hardware that is network enabled. Each sender and recipient will have different mac addresses. During this process of discovery, the hub then learns which device is linked to which port.

Routers have a further level of intelligence compared to hubs and can provide a number of different services. For instance, they can be used for several ethernet ports.

Firewalls are the most important pieces of the puzzle. These are used purely to ensure that there is a high level of network security between different systems. Firewalls monitor the traffic being sent out and help ensure that any unauthorized traffic is blocked completely, thus keeping the network secure.

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