Router vs Switch – Difference and Comparison

What is Router?

A router is a piece of hardware used in computer networking that transmits data packets between computer networks. On the Internet, routers perform traffic-directing duties.

A data packet is forwarded from one router to another router through the networks that form an internetwork until it reaches its destination node. A router can connect two networks. To transfer data from one network to another, routers use protocols.

Two or more data lines from separate networks are linked to a router. The router reads the address information in the data packet when it enters one of the lines to ascertain the packet’s final destination. It then directs the packet to the following network on its route using the data in its routing table or routing policy.

The router manages its routing table, which contains the routing information for the known networks, and it applies the routing policy to determine which way to send each data packet.

A router may have interfaces for different types of physical layer connections, such as coaxial cable, twisted pair, or fibre optic cables, and for different types of logical connection protocols.

What is Switch?

A switch is a device that allows electrical current to flow through one circuit or another, but not both at the same time. This is accomplished by breaking the circuit at the switch so that current can no longer flow through it. It is used to control the flow of electricity to a particular device, such as a light or a fan. Switches come in both varieties as manual and automatic varieties.

A switch is made up of two parts: the switch itself, and the switch controller. The switch itself is a piece of metal that can be moved to make or break the electrical circuit.

The switch controller is a device that controls the switch. It can be a simple switch that you turn on and off with your hand, or it can be a more complex device that is controlled by a computer.

The switch is important because it allows you to turn the power on and off as needed. There are many different types of switches, and they are used in a variety of applications. Some switches are used to control the flow of a particular thing to a particular device.

Difference Between Router and Switch

  1. A router is a device that connects two or more computer networks and forwards data packets between them. A switch is a device that connects two or more computer networks and forwards data packets between them.
  2. Routers use IP addresses to send data packets to the correct destination, while switches use Media Access Control (MAC) addresses.
  3. Routers can connect to multiple networks, while switches can only connect to one network.
  4. Routers can create virtual networks, while switches cannot.
  5. Routers can be used to connect two LANs, while switches can only be used to connect multiple devices on the same LAN.

Comparison Between Router and Switch

Parameters of ComparisonRouterSwitch
DefinitionIntelligent devices that are used for the interconnection between different networksproviding the connection between different nodes in a network
Key functionalitymaintain the routing tablesmaintain the switching tables
Features and costHave more features and work, and are expensive compared to a switchHave limited features, easy to use, and are less expensive
Forwardingforwards data packets between computer networksforwards packets between devices on the same network
Transmission formHalf and full duplexFull duplex


  1. IP router architectures: an overview – Aweya – 2001 – International Journal of Communication Systems – Wiley Online Library