Router – A type of inter-networking device that passes data packets between networks based on Layer 3 address’s (IP Address). A router can make decisions regarding the best path for delivery of data on the network. Easy Explanation: Router is what will pass your traffic to a different network than the one you are currently on. Switch – A device that connects LAN segments, uses a table of MAC addresses to determine the segment on which a frame needs to be transmitted, and reduces traffic. Switches operate at much higher speeds than bridges. Hub – A common connection point for devices in a network. Hubs commonly connect segments of a LAN. A hub contains multiple ports. When a packet arrives at one port, it is copied to the other ports so that all the segments of the LAN can see all the packets. **Note on Hubs**: Hubs should no longer be purchased, it’s a dead technology. Cables: There are 2 different types, Straight through, and Crossover. There are also different types of cable: Cat5e and Cat6 Without going into details, if you plan to run Gigabit networks, use Cat6, it will still work with Cat5e, but it’s not to standards. If you are going between the same device, PC - PC, Switch - Switch, Router-Router, then you will need a Crossover cable. Otherwise, use a straight through cable. Design: So this is the biggest thing people get stuck on, is how to set it all up, cables, what IP address’s to assign and where to connect things. **IMPORTANT** Always use Static IP's throughout your Network, it makes it easier to forward ports with your Router, and DHCP can cause some troubles with handing out IP's, plus it makes it a fraction more secure when they aren't handing them out. I do advise you to buy an Ethernet Router, do not buy anything that is USB. USB is just not reliable and can cause problems, plus driver support is minimal, whereas Ethernet is available to virtually every OS and device on the market. When you are buying a Router, have a look at the normal manufacturers such as Dlink, Linksys & Netgear. Personally, I use Netgear because they have always been very solid and have great support. Remember that when you buy a Router, you will still need a Modem. Some Routers have modems built into them.(Also known as Gateways) I suggest buying a Gateway as they are much easier to deal with. If you plan to hook up multiple computers with Ethernet, then get a Gateway with an inbuilt switch. If you plan to hook wireless in there as well, get a Gateway with a built in Switch and Access Point. Remember the main thing about designing networks, is that you need to tell devices HOW to get out of your network with a Gateway, and you need to tell it the DNS servers. Things like Access Points and bridges etc do not need a Gateway or DNS server as they are just connecting points within your network together. Here are the Thumbnails, as they are about 200KB or so.