My "free" router that came with my internet service is showing signs of kicking the digital bucket. While searching for recommendations on new routers, I have found a few posts that said that switches were better (more efficient, easier to control, possibly more secure) than routers. Is that true? If it makes any difference, here is what I am thinking of doing:
I would like to set up a simple server to function as print server, file server, bookmark server and firewall for my home network. It will not be high volume but multiple tasks. It would be really cool if I could install my vpn software on this computer as well but I think that must be installed on a router ( or maybe a switch??) and my vpn provider does not support vpn on routers. A few months down the road I would like to create a local network and connect the 3 computers at school to my home server.
It seems that I will need flexibility. I also need good protection - I live in the south part of China.
A switch only has the ability to network your local devices (desktops, laptops, servers, etc.). You need a router (which usually comes w/ an integrated switch when dealing w/ consumer-grade routers) in order to reach OTHER networks outside your own, such as the internet.
Some routers support an integrated VPN client and/or server, or you can install it on a PC. Just depends on which best serves your needs.