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I've never heard the term 'broadband router', but depending on the qualifications of the network person in this business, I'd probably go router. If you've just got a switch, my understanding is that you need do the routing on a machine.
The two are separate devices, although a broadband Cable/DNS router will contain a 4 or 8 port switch. So it depends on how many hosts you need to plug into the switch. If you have more hosts, you tie a switch to the cable router. If what you want to do is tie to offices together, then a vpn device such as a pix could be used.
I think you'll find the term "Broadband Router" is used in Australia to describe a router with a broadband modem in-built.
If you are only looking at a LAN in an office, a switch should be sufficient. If you want to go "out the door" then I believe you need routing.
what do you mean by "out the door"? Like if you're serving a webpage or something? I didn't think about it that way. I suppose you're right, a switch would work decently, depending on the size of the network. Because the way I understand it, the switch just broadcasts all traffic on every port, correct? If you've got a large enough network, it can cause congestion, and bottle-necks.
If you have only one IP from your internet provider, then a broadband router that provides NAT routing is what you want. They are available with either a 4 port or a 8 port switch. So you get both in one device. If you have more hosts than that, then you also need an additional switch. If you connect the switch to the router, then the hosts plugged into the switch will also be able to access the internet. Most consumer grade routers will supply a NAT service for up to 50 hosts by default. Using NAT, your LAN can use a private network address. This also supplies firewall protection.
There are devices such as Cisco routers that are also switches with something like 24 ports. These will be more expensive, and are more likely to be used for a larger office.