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Explaining Switches, Routers, and Computer Networks In Terms For Anyone

Posted by Baynetwork on Sep 15th 2017

Explaining Switches,  Routers, and Computer Networks In Terms For Anyone

A computer network is not as complicated as many people think.

A network is, at its core, a group of computers that are linked together by special cables, through devices referred to as switches.

The world is now connected; thanks to computer and internet technology, the old days of geographic barriers to doing business are long gone. Today people can communicate and share information instantly from around the world, if they possess the right networking capabilities.

This kind of cutting-edge communication used to belong to big corporations, but as technology continues to advance, the once astronomical price tags associated with top-of-the-line networking components have dropped to prices attainable by even the small business man. This helps level the playing field, allowing the small business owner to compete in global markets, like never before.

Many people are intimidated when it comes to computer technology. The language that information technology experts throw around sounds like any number of foreign tongues, none of them resembling English. This lack of understanding can keep many small business owners from embracing technology and the ways it can benefit them. Understanding some of the basic language associated with your business network can remove the intimidation factor and help put you on track to moving forward into the internet age.

A computer network is not as complicated as many people think. A network is, at its core, a group of computers that are linked together by special cables, through devices referred to as switches. From there the switches connect to a router, which then connects to another device known as the broadband gateway.

So what is all of that? To help peel back the mystery of a simple network connection, Baynetwork would like to explain each of the main pieces of your computer network and put in terms that you can understand:

  • Broadband Gateways: Many people have internet access in their homes. They get their internet from an internet service provider that arranges for the connection in the home through cable lines or DSL. In order to get access to this internet service, you need a broadband gateway. Before you think that you do not have one of these devices, let’s put it differently. In order to get access to this internet service you need a cable modem or a DSL modem, depending on your service type. Understand the connection now? Broadband gateways are your modems to connect you to your internet service. These broadband gateways are designed to connect to one computer and one computer only, which brings us to routers.
    • Routers: A router is the traffic director of your network set up. It takes information coming in from your internet service provider through your broadband gateway (or modem) and directs to the appropriate location, which is usually a series of computers within the company. Routers are often protected to keep threats, such as viruses and other such damaging programs, out of the computer network. This protection is referred to as a firewall. Think of it like this: two people on the same network are working on different projects and doing completely unrelated internet searches; the router is the piece of equipment that sends the incoming information to the correct computers that are working off a singular internet connection. Again, the router is the information director.
    • Switches: In large networks with separate departments, with lots of different computers, the router will send information to an area to be redirected again, this time by the switches. Switches are like the center point of a wheel, with spokes connecting one of the computers in the department. In very small networks, routers may have switch technology already in place, since there is not an overwhelming need for multiple computers.

    Explaining in terms of internet used in the home is often the best way to break down the network scheme for people to understand. Networks can be set up to accommodate businesses of any size and Baynetwork is happy to work with everyone to meet their networking and IT needs.

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