Routing and switching are the basic functions of network in terms of an effective communication. In a network, routing protocol uses software and routing algorithms to determine optimal network data transfer and communication paths between network nodes. In other words Routing is the process of selecting paths in a network along which to send network traffic and route simply meant, the path to send the network traffic.
Routing protocols facilitate router communication and makes a network topology more easily understandable.
A routing protocol is also known as a routing policy. Switching are far more commonly referred to as IP Switching, this is a routing technique which routes data packets faster than traditional routing by using Layer 3 Switches at different functions of network communications.
The main differences between Routing and Switching are as outlined below.
1. The function of Switching is to switch data packets between devices on the same network (or same LAN – Local Area Network).
2. The function of Routing is to Route packets between different networks (between different LANs – Local Area Networks).
3. Switches operate at Layer 2 of the OSI Model (Data link Layer).
4. A switch knows where to send a data packet by using Layer 2 addresses (MAC address – hardware address of a network adapter).
5. A switch maintains a table of MAC addresses (MAC Address table or CAM Table) and what physical switch port they are connected to.
6. The Switching function can be explained more simply that, Switching is the function of moving data packets (Ethernet Frames) within the same LAN (Local Area Network).
7. Routers operate at Layer 3 of the OSI Model (Network layer).
8. A Router knows where to send a packet by using Network part of the destination IP address.
9. A Router maintains a table called Routing Table and uses the routing table to determine the route to the destination network.