Firewalls, Switches, & Access Points

Firewalls, switches, and access points (or APs) are critical equipment components required to run a network and protect it from threats. Even though these equipment components appear similar, they are distinct in functionality.

Let’s take a closer look at what they all are, including their features and capabilities.

What is a Firewall?

Typically, a firewall is a shield or network security system that works as a ‘wall’ between an internal and external connection. The main purpose of a firewall is to protect internal connections (or LANs) from external attacks while preventing a breach.

Simply put, a firewall monitors traffic and blocks unauthorized traffic from entering the internal system. It basically works as an antivirus that:

  • Filters URLs, files, content, and mail.
  • Controls application behavior.
  • Protects from DDoS attacks.

What is a Switch?

A switch is a high-performance hub that sends data back and forth while recording the MAC addresses of every sender and receiver. Throughout the process, the switch learns every device connected to every port.

In short, a switch connects firewalls, routers, and wireless access points to client devices, including computers, printers, etc. It works as the central point connection for all devices connected.

What is an Access Point?

An AP (access point) is a LAN component that increases a computer network’s wireless coverage. As a result, more than one user can connect at a time. APs only offer access to devices connected to the router of an established network. They transform the wired signal into wireless to create a connection between devices through WiFi. As such, APs can be wireless, too.

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