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Terminology - Switch



A device that improves network performance by segmenting the network and reducing competition for bandwidth. When a switch port receives data packets, it forwards those packets only to the appropriate port for the intended recipient. This further reduces competition for bandwidth between the clients, servers or workgroups connected to each switch port. [1]

Switch : Hardware that decides how to route Internet transmissions. Switches are similar to software routers, but faster and less flexible.[2]



Switch most commonly refers to a network or ethernet switch, which allows multiple computers to be connected to one device, which is then connected to one internet/phone line. These are commonly used in households with more than one computer, where they are plugged into a LAN Hub so that they only need one internet port instead of needing a specific phone line for each computer.

Businesses use ethernet/network switches to reduce costs and the need for individual phone lines for every single computer. The switch will also manage bandwidth so that it is not wasted, as well as introduce systems to protect packets from being lost by redirecting them in the right direction whenever possible.[3]


Many routers now include switches in them, for example a 4-port ADSL 2+ router, which allows four computers to be plugged into the one device, which is plugged into the one internet line. Routers may also include the modem, reducing three devices into one.

The main difference between a network HUB and a Switch is the fact that that Switch is more intelligent. When a Hub receives information, it will 'broadcast' all the information to all the computers connected, wheras a Switch will be able to determine which information should go to which computer, thus increasing network performance. [4]

Relevant/Related Pages

IP Address

References and Resources

[1] http://www.connectworld.net/fiber/profile.htm
[2] www.computerconfluence.com the Book!
[3] http://www.networkcomputing.com/1119/1119f1products_5.html
[4] http://www.home-network-help.com/network-switch.html