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skorned's avatar

What's the difference between these common network devices?

Asked by skorned (97points) May 25th, 2009

Hey. I’m preparing for the IGCSE 10th grade exams, and wanted to know 1 line definitions/descriptions of common network devices like hubs, routers and switches, and what the difference between them is. Like for example, a router is a smart switch which distributes bandwidth only between computers that are on and need it. (that may not be true, idk)

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8 Answers

arturodiaz's avatar

I think you should really google each term out. Wikipedia is great resource too. Fluther is not a community designed to make your homework.

Darwin's avatar

Yes, Google is your friend.

Besides, didn’t you study this somewhere along the line?

marcosthecuban's avatar

hubs are typically not powered, switches are. routers can be smart switches but typically do more than just switch. they process the data (like verify passwords,eg).

skorned's avatar

hey I’ve tried google already, believe me, I’m the kind of person who refers people to, but on this question, google stumped me. Firstly, @Darwin, our computer teacher is miserable, and I’m not even sure which network devices I’m supposed to know, forget actually knowing anything about them. Hence, I can’t google the terms when I don’t know what they are. Also, when I tried googling routers and switches and stuff, I got a lot different definitions from different sites, and since they defined a couple of devices on each site, but not all, so I had to collect different definitions from different sites, and couldn’t come up with a valid comparision of them, since the definitions varied. Hence I have ended up very confused. I do not ask or expect other people to do my homework for me, but I am stumped about these, and was hoping that someone experienced with this kinda hardware could give me their overview of it as they understand it, as no amount of research can beat the cliffs notes version a person experienced in that field can get.

Also there was a lot of product information and tutorials on how to assemble networks and stuff, but no basics on what the differences between them are. The sites that did give the differences got too technical, and not surprisingly, the IGCSE wants pretty childish comparisions, like a router is a ‘smart’ switch and stuff.

Anyhow, being on the recieving end of a for a change hurt, and although I cam here coz I was short on time and couldn’t afford to read up on these things online, I guess now i’m gonna do it.

and btw, I’m not trying to just justify myself here or anything, and get my work done easy, believe me, I tried. I always prefer checking it up quickly for myself, rather than wait for a bunch of people on the internet to answer it. As an example, see this wikipedia page, listing the various devices, and the differences between them. I do not know what OSI layers are, and neither does IGCSE, I need some kid friendly terms here:

* Gateway: device sitting at a network node for interfacing with another network that uses different protocols. Works on OSI layers 4 to 7.
* Router: a specialized network device that determines the next network point to which to forward a data packet toward its destination. Unlike a gateway, it cannot interface different protocols. Works on OSI layer 3.
* Bridge: a device that connects multiple network segments along the data link layer. Works on OSI layer 2.

and yes, before you suggest it, I tried simple english wikipedia, and howstuffworks and stuff. Of course, if you still believe that this answer is easy and can be got on google, well this is what the fluther blog has to say about it : “Easy/Googleable questions are allowed, and should be answered courteously.”

and thanks marcos, for taking the same time to type out and answer but actually helping. But what do you mean by routers process passwords? As in authentication when PCs try to log on to the router? Switches can’t do that? Wow..anyway, thanks, that answer helped quite a bit. But besides the smartness of the devices, I believe there are also some differences in what they connect? As in hubs connect 2 networks together, routers connect various devices on one network, something like that. And that hubs keep all communications on one side of the network on that side, and don’t let the data leak out to the other network.
And sorry for the awfully long reply

skorned's avatar

and @arturodiaz , did you even visit the google page you’ve recommended, and see the results? There are links to a wikipedia page, tutorials on how to connect the hardware, companies which sell smart network device hardware, software to manage networks, more shopping sites, Amazon books on network devices, and some high-level discussions for industry experts. Which one of those do you recommend I check? Next time you decide to be a jerk, try considering that some other people might have brains too, and might have already exhausted all their research resources before resorting to fluther as a means to get an authoritative and clear answer of my level!

Darwin's avatar

@skorned – You should have been doing this all along, not just before the test. If your teacher is unclear then you should have been asking more questions in class or getting together with fellow students.

And how was I not courteous? I simply agreed with @arturodiaz and asked you a simple question, the answer to which would have been useful to me if I were to pursue giving you the answer.

And finally, there are sites that compare all the entities you are seeking:

This one

And this one

And this is the answer someone got on AnswerBag

This is a useful discussion here.

In fairly simple terms there is another answer here

And here

And yes it will take a bit of thinking to get things down to a one-line definition, but it is readily doable even by a kid.

PS I Googled definitions routers switches hubs and then definition router switch hub in order to get all three in the same document.

In 10th grade you should be able to read and digest these level of documents.

skorned's avatar

@Darwin and @arturodiaz , i’m sorry for that outburst, yall are right, I was being lazy, and was slightly frustrated. Truth is, my entire class has like a common confusion about this issue, and we would always try to figure it out, then encounter details about OSI layers, details of the packet architecture or about the TCP/IP protocol, and stop. And then we would suddenly remember one day before tests and panic. And for some reason, for all these months, no one has found one definitive answer.

Anyhow, I came off pretty wrong here, I’m not the kinda kid who just seeks the easy way out by asking other people, nor am I the kind who just rushes through the syllabus right before a paper. In fact, I’ve never studied for a Comp Studies test before, and have always topped my class. Its just that for the finals I thought I’d go through the text book which I’ve never read earlier, to make sure there isn’t anything I’ve overlooked, and remembered that this issue was still unresolved.

Anyhow, the webopedia article you linked to is pretty good Darwin, thanks for that. Although I beg to differ about what you said about students my age being able to understand those documents. Although I could weed through and reduce them to stuff my IGCSE examiners will understand, most of my classmates would not know what a TCP/IP packet is, or what the OSI layers are, so they would not venture much further reading through the entire documents. Just to show that I’m not being boastful or condescending or anything, heres an example of an email I got from a classmate 2 minutes back:
“You want to be a philanthropist ?????? seriously i dont even noe what the fuk is dat :P ”

Anyhow, thanks for those links @Darwin , helped a lot.

Darwin's avatar

@skorned – You are welcome. I help my children with their homework frequently so I do know that at least some kids can get through those documents.

In reference to your classmates, a printed copy with some strategic highlighting might help.

You want to be a philanthropist for real? That is an unusual ambition for someone your age.

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