In case you want to connect two or more computers and create your own computer network, there are three devices which can help you:
- a network hub
- a network switch
- a wireless router
In the following paragraphs we will try to make it a bit more clear what is the function of each device.
Network Hub vs Network Switch
Basically, a network hub is ideal for private networks where there is no need of Internet access. Simply, you connect two or more computers and the data packets between them flow normally. However, the main disadvantage here is that the data packets are distributed to all computers equally and so is the network bandwidth. This also means that the connection speed will be lower if there are many computers connected.
Not so long ago, when network switches and wireless routers were high-end technology, and not available for everyone because of their price, most people were choosing a network hub. Luckily, things have changed now and the price of network switches and routers is much more affordable making them more available. As a result, network hubs are quite rare nowadays and there is no real need for you to buy them.
A network switch does the same job as a network hub, but the key difference here is that the data packets are sent to a specific computer. The data packets are not distributed to all computers like when using a network hub, which means there is no waste of bandwidth and the connection speeds are greater.
This is the main reason why network switches are more popular than network hubs.
Wireless Router – The Best Option
A wireless network router is definitely different from the two networking devices described above. It basically distributes (routes) data not only to local computers, but to other networks as well.
Today, almost every home and office has a wireless router which allows everyone have its own personal home network and modify the router settings. Because the router helps you connect to other networks, it has some additional features and normally comes equipped with a firewall, VPN, traffic monitoring, parental control, etc.
So, what should you buy?
Basically, it is not difficult to choose the right device for your network.
Our best recommendation for most people is to go for a wireless router. By choosing this, you will be able to connect all your wireless devices to your personal network and have internet access in your home or office.
On the other hand, if you don’t need all the functions and features of a wireless router and you are on a tight budget maybe you should buy a network switch. However, you can easily find routers under $100 and even $50, so there is no real reason why should you choose anything but a wireless router.