What is the difference between network router, switch, hub, and bridge?

People are confused by these terms easily thrown around. What is the difference?

Router: a sophisticated device, usually with a firewall built-in. Use one between the modem and your house network if the modem does not have a built-in firewall. Use one per house network if needed.

Switch: a cheaper but trusty device that allows several Ethernet devices (computer) to be connected together. Switches can also be connected to switches.

Hub: a very stupid obsolete device previously used instead of switches. Due to stupid reasons (habit), any device that looks like a switch some people would call a "hub". Calling something a "hub" is talking very generic without actually saying anything about the device.

Bridge: unless in very technical environments, and when said by people who know what they are talking about, any device that you encounter in a home or office network should not be called a bridge. And a device specified online as a bridge, if not properly defined, is not very meaningful.

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Page last modified 21-May-16 15:46:11 EDT
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