What are the benefits nowadays to use a Router instead of a L3 Switch ?

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    You may wait a little longer before accept an answer, in case a better one appear.
    – vasin1987
    Feb 25, 2018 at 20:02
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    It is a foundational issue regarding the design/engineering of the platform. In general, L3 switches are designed as switches first, with added L3 capabilities. Routers are designed as routers first and may provide some switching capability.
    – YLearn
    Feb 26, 2018 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


It usually comes down to options and resources, where routers have more of each. Routers often have the ability to have different types of interfaces that are not available on switches. They also typically have more resources (RAM, processor, etc.). Routers also usually have a hardware assist for NAT, which is actually resource intensive, and most switches do not NAT. Also, routers usually have an option to run a firewall that many switches do not because firewalls are resource intensive.

In general, you use layer-3 switches as LAN routers, and use a router for WAN connections.

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    I would add that "Layer 3 switch" vs "Router" is much more of a marketing term distinction than one concerning an objectively comparable set of technical features. A "layer 3 switch" will typically implement IP routing functionality (i.e. be an IP router) and may or may not have any routing-related additional features like specific upper-layer protocol relays or proxies, dynamic routing protocol implementations, access control functionality, multicast routing support, IPv6 Teredo gateways or IPSEC tunnel endpoints - you name it. Feb 25, 2018 at 23:14
  • It's also an issue of what kind of resources. L3 switches are likely to have a much larger backplane and L2/L3 forwarding capacity at the cost of less resources for processing above that layer. Feb 26, 2018 at 1:30

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