Scientific American presents Tech Talker by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.

Computers talk to each other and to the web in many different ways. This communication is facilitated by various devices such as routers and switches.

In this week's episode, I'll be cover just what these devices are, what they do, and which are best for your computing needs!

As you probably know, there are quite a few devices that are help facilitate the communication of computers. Most of you are probably familiar with routers and modems, but there are also hubs, switches, and bridges. If you're not familiar with these, don't worry. Today, I'll go over what all of these gadgets do and hopefully clear up any confusion.

Routers and Modems
Let's start off with the most well-known of these devices, the router. Odds are, you have a router at home which allows your computers, phones, tablets, and coffeemaker to connect to the internet. Routers receive information in the form of packets, and these packets are addressed just like a letter.

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