There are multiple ways to wire up your home network. In this article we are going to focus on some of the more common strategies.
In this model, you only have one network. Every device can communicate directly with one another. The local traffic destined to stay within the switch(s) form your single Local Area Network (LAN for short). LAN traffic stays within the switch (or switches if you have more than one).
Everything else is deemed external traffic e.g. Internet traffic, often referred to as Wide Area Network (WAN). This external traffic is directed to the router. In this model, the router will have two IP address - a LAN IP address, and a WAN IP address (From your ISP). The LAN IP address of the router is called the gateway IP address, every device on your LAN knows about this gateway address (as this is their “way-out” to the Internet).
The router thus serves the role of a gate keeper between your LAN and WAN. Note that the above illustration is just a “logical” breakdown of the features:
- router (Manage traffic across different subnets)
- switch (connect devices on the same subnet), and
- clients (devices like computers, streamers, tablets, etc.).
“All-in-one” devices that combines the features of a router and switch are pretty common, and almost every household will have some sort of unit that does routing, switching and WIFI access.
All your devices simply has to connect to this single unit and everything just works. If you need more wired ports, connect a second switch to this all-in-one and everything will function seamlessly.
This is the most common home setup.