Originally Posted by depaularobert
What is the difference between a switch and router?
A router interconnects two or more computer networks. It also isolates networks and only passes traffic between the two networks only if the destination of the traffic is on the other network.
In the case of most home setups, the networks are the Internet and the 'home' network. The router does not send the information being exchanged between the computers inside your home to the Internet. And it determines if any of the packets on information that are on the Internet are being directed to one of the computers inside your home. If they are, the router allows them in and directs to the proper computer.
A switch has basically no intelligence. It merely sends any information that appears on anyone of its ports to another port. However, if the sending and receiving computers are both on the same switch, it will not generally uplink the data to the next level.
By the way, as you add more and more devices to a network, you may not want to use your router as a switch. Most of the consumer routers do have some bandwidth problems and using a switch will reduce the data flow through the router and prevent some pesky intermittent problems.
Be aware, that hubs, switches and routers all do much the same thing and there is a lot of gray areas in the actual hardware implementation. So some switches look something like routers and some hubs look like switches... Confusing isn't it?