There are many times when explaining to clients what piece of hardware needs rebooted or reset that they do not know what we are talking about when we reference the piece of networking equipment by name.
Even if you do know what is meant by router, modem, switch, hub, etc., you might not know what the equipment does, and why you need it.
Today is your lucky day! Below is a brief explanation of what the various types of networking equipment is, what it does, and why you need it.
Let’s start from your Internet service providers (ISP) main line into your house or business and work our way up to your computer. It all begins with your modem – this is how you initially connect to your ISP’s main line into your building.
The modem is what connects you to your Internet provider, and secures an IP address for your computer or network to connect to the Internet.
The next piece of hardware in line is normally your router.
Some network installations don’t have a router, usually because the modem supplied by the Internet provider has one built in, or the computer connects directly to the modem.
A router allows you to have your own network IP scheme and communicate from your network to your ISP’s network.
Routers allow you to expand your network beyond the one device that most ISP’s modems allow by creating a larger subset of IP addresses for your computers to connect to which is then “routed” to your ISP’s IP address and out to the Internet.
This is why they are called routers, they route network traffic. Some routers also offer the ability to connect wirelessly to your network.
These connections act exactly the same way except for the fact that they do not have an Ethernet cable plugged into the computer you are using to connect with and there is increased security on the wireless connection to prevent unauthorized connections to your network. Some routers also offer a high grade built in firewall.
So as you can see routers can come in many different flavors and configurations.
The final piece of hardware in the chain of networking hardware is your switch.
In general switches are designed to be connected to your router and offer more Ethernet ports for you to connect devices to your network.
Most routers offer on average five Ethernet ports – a switch gives you the ability to expand on the number of available Ethernet ports that can connect to your router.
If you want to have multiple devices connected to your Internet connection while keeping your network secure give us a call and we can guide you on selecting the proper equipment as well as getting it setup properly for you.
If this kind of equipment is not configured properly you may not be able to connect to the Internet at all.
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