10 Difference Between Router And Layer-3 Switch

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What Is Router?

A router is a physical or virtual appliance that passes information between two or more packet-switched computer networks. Routers can analyze the data being sent over a network, change how it is packaged and send it to another network or over a different network. For example, routers are commonly used in home networks to share a single internet connection between multiple computers.

Types Of Routers

  • Core routers
  • Edge router
  • Branch routers
  • Logical router
  • Wireless router

What You Need To Know About Router

  1. The main function of router is to connect various networks simultaneously.
  2. Router supports edge technologies such as NAT, Tunneling, Firewall etc.
  3. Routers are generally less costlier than Lyer-3 switches.
  4. Router supports MPLS and VPN services.
  5. In router generally, software logic is the hardware technology used to make forwarding decisions.
  6. Routers have a lower port density than layer 3 switches.
  7. In router, switching capacity is lower than layer-3 switch.
  8. In router, size of the routing table is bigger than layer-3 switch routing table for multiple route entries.
  9. Router has a lower throughput than layer-3 switch.
  10. Layer-3 switch is limited to usage over LAN environment where inter VLAN routing can be performed, however, when it comes to working on WAN and edge technologies layer-3 switch lags behind.

What Is Layer-3 Switch?

Layer 3 switch is an Ethernet switch that switches packets by looking at both their network address (for example, their IP or IPX) and their physical address (for example, their MAC address). This type of switch operates at both the network layer (layer 3) and the data-link layer (layer 2) of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model. Layer 3 Switch combines the speed of an Ethernet switch with some of the capabilities of a router for building advanced, high-speed Ethernet networks.

What You Need To Know About Router

  1. The main function of layer-3 switch is to connect various devices simultaneously.
  2. Layer-3 switch does not support edge technologies.
  3. Layer-3 switches are much more cost effective than routers for delivering high-speed inter-VLAN routing. Although high performance routers are typically much more expensive than layer 3 switches.
  4. Layer-3 does not support MPLS and VPN services.
  5. Specialized ASICs are the hardware technology used to make forwarding decisions in Layer-3 switches.
  6. Layer-3 switches, have much higher port count.
  7. Layer-3, has higher switching capacity.
  8. Layer-3 switch routing table is smaller than router.
  9. Layer-3 has a high throughput when compared to router.
  10. Layer 3 switches allow you to mix and match layer 2 and layer 3 switching, what this means is that, you can configure a layer 3 to operate as normal as layer 2 switch or enable layer-3 switching as required.
  11. A layer 3 switch can also be configured to support routing protocols such as RIP, OSPF and EIGRP.

Also Read: Difference Between MAC Address And IP Address

Difference Between Router And Layer-3 Switch In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON ROUTER LAYER-3 SWITCH
Function The main function of router is to connect various networks simultaneously.   The main function of layer-3 switch is to connect various devices simultaneously.  
Edge Technology Support Router supports edge technologies such as NAT, Tunneling, Firewall etc.   Layer-3 switch does not support edge technologies.  
Cost Routers are generally less costlier than Lyer-3 switches.   Layer-3 switches are much more cost effective than routers for delivering high-speed inter-VLAN routing.
MPL & VPN Services Router supports MPLS and VPN services.   Layer-3 does not support MPLS and VPN services.  
Forwarding Decisions In router generally, software logic is the hardware technology used to make forwarding decisions.   Specialized ASICs are the hardware technology used to make forwarding decisions in Layer-3 switches.  
Port Density Routers have a lower port density than layer 3 switches.   Layer-3 switches, have much higher port count.  
Switching Capacity In router, switching capacity is lower than layer-3 switch.   Layer-3, has higher switching capacity.  

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