Those who are not experts in the domain or have vast knowledge usually cannot tell the difference between switches, routers and firewalls and it is a perfectly understood reason why: they are just not that into knowing too much regarding this domain. However, it may happen sometimes that you have to buy one of these devices for your network to work properly and it is essential to know the differences between them and in when should you use a SonicWALL TZ 200 01-SSC-8742 Wireless-N Unlimited Firewall or a router.
Routers are also known as gateways and they are the first component of the internet connectivity in your house. They are considered the backbone of the internet, as they sit between the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and are the ones that determine the network traffic that should pass through the internet and the one that should remain in your network. It is impossible to browse the internet without them. A typical local router has two types of IP addresses: the public one and the private one. In case the local network traffic is intended to reach the World Wide Web, then the main role of the router is to actually route the traffic reaching the specific private IP address towards the public one.
Switches on the other hand, whether it is about Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series Switches or any other similar devices, do not come with routing capabilities. They are used only inside the network and are supposed to help the computer communicate with other related network devices. Devices that operate within the same network do not need their traffic to be routed to each other and this is one main difference between routers and switches.
Last but not least, firewalls are known mostly as security appliances used in network and this is what makes them different from both switches and routers. It is worth mentioning that there are two kinds of hardware firewalls: internal and perimeter. In the case of small networks, the hardware firewall is usually perimeter and it is also used to control access and provides security to the specific local network from the outside world, which is why this type of firewall may sometimes come with routing capabilities. Routers that do not have any firewall characteristics only pass traffic from one network to another. Firewalls on the other hand monitor the traffic and can also block any unauthorized traffic that comes from the outside world and tries to get into the network. For this reason, some firewalls come equipped with anti-spam or anti-virus systems meant to offer higher level of protection. Moreover, hardware firewalls are programs that can be easily installed onto servers or computers and act as software firewalls.
All things considered, these are some of the most important differences between switches, routers and firewalls that every computer user should know about. Keep in mind that if you want your network to be secured and to work properly, it is essential you only buy top quality products from professional and reliable providers.
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