Selecting a Router or Switch for Your Own Home Network

By Lawrence C. Miller, CISSP from Home Networking homemade For Dummies

Building a home networking system needs basic hardware: a router, switch (or hub), network adapters, and network cables. If you’re building a wired home network, you'll have to grasp what ....
forms of networking hardware to seem for.
Home network switches and routers

The first necessary piece of networking hardware for your home network may be a switch. A switch permits you to simply connect multiple computers and different network devices (such as printers) along, as shown within the figure below. you merely plug one finish of Associate in Nursing coax cable into the network interface of your numerous devices and therefore the different finish into the switch.
A switch connects multiple devices on a network.
A switch connects multiple devices on a network.

A switch may be a comparatively easy piece of hardware. Home networking switches square measure typically found in 4-port, 8-port, and 12-port configurations for (generally) but $100. you may generally see a network switch known as a 10/100 local area network or 10/100/1000 Gigabit local area network switch. This refers to the most network speed the switch can support per association.

Although you typically can wish to attach your network devices at the very best doable speed, it is not necessary to splurge on the quickest switch, significantly if value is a difficulty. A 100-megabit local area network switch is quite enough for many home networking desires. NetGear (see the subsequent figure), Linksys (by Cisco), and D-Link square measure 3 standard brands of home network switches.
A NetGear local area network switch.
A NetGear local area network switch.

You should remember of many variations of switches once buying networking hardware. as an example, a router with a inherent 4-port switch is one standard choice. A router connects your home network to a different network, like the web. Having a inherent switch in your router saves you some hardware, space, and one further electrical outlet! the subsequent figure shows a Linksys router with a 4-port switch.
A LinkSys (Cisco) router with inherent 4-port switch.
A LinkSys (Cisco) router with inherent 4-port switch.
Hubs for home networking

A hub is another variation of a switch. Hubs and switches operate in an exceedingly similar manner, with one necessary difference:

    Hub: once a hub receives network traffic sent from one device to a different, the hub broadcasts the traffic to all or any the devices on the network. The supposed recipient processes the traffic, and every one the opposite devices ignore the traffic.

    On tiny home networks, this distinction is never a retardant. However, broadcasting traffic through a hub will cause network congestion on busy networks, and since all devices connected to the hub see all of the traffic on the network, it's not significantly secure.

    Switch: A switch, on the opposite hand, is basically Associate in Nursing intelligent hub. A switch is aware of to a small degree bit regarding the devices that square measure blocked into every of its ports and uses that info to send network traffic that it receives from one device, on to the destination device. This causes less congestion on the network and is safer than a hub.

Hubs wont to be fairly common in tiny networks as a result of they were comparatively cheap. However, the worth distinction between hubs and switches has shrunken over the years to the purpose that there very isn't any reason to shop for a hub nowadays. A typical 4-port ten Mbps hub prices regarding $30. By comparison, you'll get a 4-port 10/100/1000 Mbps switch for regarding $50, and lots of wireless access points and routers have a inherent 4-port switch out there for regarding $35 to $60.

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