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Switches and Routers

Routers and switches are both networking devices used to connect computers, devices or other networks and help comprise an IT infrastructure. The functions of a router and a switch are different, but are oftentimes integrated into a single system.

“Fast & Secure Network Processing”

Routers are used to connect either wired or wireless networks. A router receives TCP/IP packets and determine the source and IP address and then forwards those data packets through networks. A packet is a piece of a message that contains the address within the data. A router connects at least two networks such as a Local Area Network (LAN) or a Wide-Area Network (WAN).

Routers are connected at gateways (where networks connect) and use protocols such as Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) to communicate and configure the best route between hosts. Routers can perform network address translation (NAT) to allow devices on a subnetwork to share the same IP address. Some routers even include built-in firewalls to improve the security of the network and software to increase network speed through caching.

Switches are used only for wired networks. A switch is a device that joins multiple computers together within a LAN. They are not capable of joining multiple networks or sharing an internet connection. A switch filters and sends data packets between LAN segments. By filtering the information to be sent only where it needs to be, rather than to every port, switches make the network run much faster. Networks that use a switch designate one computer as the internet gateway. The designated device must have two network adapters for sharing.

Routers and switches can be used where networks are broken up into different zones, which separate user access networks from data centers. Networks are usually built in two or three layers within a tree topology: The Edge layer, the Core (or Backbone) layer, and the Distribution layer. The Edge layer connects to the end-user devices (such as laptop and desktop computers). The Core (Backbone) layer connects the entire network to the rest of the enterprise. In larger networks, an additional switching layer, called the Distribution layer, aggregates the edge switches.

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“Fast & Secure Network Processing”

The advantages of using routers are:

  • full enterprise routing ability
  • higher CPU capacity
  • ability to add interfaces for WAN or Ethernet circuits
  • ability to run several security features
  • the ability to integrate IPS, firewall, deep packet inspection, and WAN acceleration functions

The advantages of using switches are:

  • high bandwidth and performance
  • lower Gigabit Ethernet port cost
  • all routing protocols are available
  • high quantity of Ethernet switch ports

Every network is different and must be engineered to the specific needs of each company. JKS experts consult with you to determine the needs of your company and design a system using the appropriate hardware to ensure a reliable, high-performing network. We use advanced routing and switching techniques to securely connect your network and integrate video, voice, and data. We can install new systems as well as add on to existing infrastructure to keep your costs low while improving your network and services.