Difference between router and switch
Difference between router and switch

Difference between router and switch | Amazing Mantra

Difference between router and switch, a very popular and important question which is often asked by many people.

In order to know the every detail regarding the difference between router and switch, the below article is written in a specific order in which you are firstly introduced with both the devices separately.

  • What is a router?
  • What is Network Switch?

And after that, a well managed and organized table is provided showing the main points providing enough details about the difference between router and switch.

Before knowing the difference between router and switch, it is important for us to know about them separately i.e. what are they, how they function and of which components they are made of.

What is a router?

Difference between router and switch

A router may be said as a networking device which connects different computer networks, for example, if we have to connect a home network with the Internet.  Routers are the workhorses which transfer packets of information between networks to ascertain associated sustain communication between two hops in an internetwork. Routers operate at Layer three (network layer) of the OSI model, a router uses the destination IP Address in a data packet to determine where to further deliver the packet.

What is a Network Switch?

Difference between router and switch

A network switch is a device which is used to connect different devices together on a single computer network. A switch is also known as a switching hub, bridging hub, or a MAC bridge. Switches basically use the MAC addresses to forward the data to the desired destination. A network switch is regarded as a Layer two device, operating at the data link layer; switches use packet switching to receive, process and forward the data.

Because we have now come to know about a router and a network switch separately. So, we can now learn the difference between a router and switch easily.

A simple comparison chart showing the difference between router and switch is given below:




            Router Switch
Function It directs data in a network. It passes the data between home computers, between computers and the modem.


It allows to connect multiple devices and ports can be managed, VLAN can create security also can apply




Network Layer (Layer 3 devices)



It comes under Data Link Layer (Layer 2 of the OSI model).
Ports 2/4/8


Switch is multi-port Bridge. 24/48 ports


Data Transmission form Packet


Frame (L2 Switch) Frame & Packet (L3 switch)


Transmission Type At Initial Level Broadcast then Uni-cast & Multicast


First broadcast; then unicast & multicast as needed.
Device Type Networking device


Active Device (With Software) & Networking device
Table It stores IP address in the Routing table and maintains address at its own.



Switches use Content Accessible Memory (CAM) table that is typically accessed by ASIC (Application Specific integrated chips).
Transmission Mode Full duplex Half/Full duplex
Broadcast Domain In Router, every port has its own Broadcast domain. Switch has one broadcast domain [unless VLAN implemented]

A router is a networking device which connects a local network to the other local networks. At the Distribution Layer of the network, routers direct traffic and perform other functions critical to efficient network operation.


A network switch is a computer networking device which is used to connect several devices together on a computer network. A switch is considered as more advanced than a hub because a switch will send a message to the device that needs or request it.
Speed 1-10 Mbps (Wireless); 100 Mbps (Wired)  

10/100 Mbps, 1 Gbps


Address used for data transmission Uses IP address  

Uses MAC address


Used to  

Connect two or more networks



Connect two or more nodes in the same network or different network.


Device category Intelligent Device  

Intelligent Device


Bandwidth Sharing  

Bandwidth sharing is dynamic. It enables either static or dynamic bandwidth sharing for modular cable interfaces. The default percent-value is 0. The percent-value lies in between 1-96.


There is no sharing in network switches. Port can be either 10, 100, 1000 or 10000 Mbps, individual.



Routing Decision  

Takes faster routing decisions


Takes comparatively more time for complicated routing decisions
NAT (Network Address Translation) Routers can perform NAT Switches cannot perform NAT
Faster In a different network environment (MAN/ WAN), a router is faster than an L3 switch. In a LAN environment, an L3 switch is faster than a router (built in switching hardware)
Features Firewall VPN Dynamic handling of Bandwidth Priority rt range On/Off setting of port VLAN Port mirroring
Examples Linksys WRT54GL Juniper MX & EX series Cisco 3900, 2900, 1900 Alcatel’s OmniSwitch 9000; Cisco Catalyst switch 4500 and 6500 (10 Gbps)



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