Hubs and switches function as a common connection point for the workstations, printers, file servers and other devices that make up a network. The main difference between hubs and switches is the way in which they communicate with the network.
What is a Hub?
A hub functions as the central connection point of a network. It joins together the workstations, printers, and servers on a network, so they can communicate with each other. Each hub has a number of ports that connect it to the other devices via a network cable.
How does a Hub work?
A hub is an inexpensive way to connect devices on a network. Data travels around a network in 'packets' and a hub forwards these data packets out to all the devices connected to its ports.
As a hub distributes packets to every device on the network, when a packet is destined for only one device, every other device connected to the hub receives that packet. Because all the devices connected to the hub are contending for transmission of data the individual members of a shared network will only get a percentage of the available network bandwidth. This process can slow down a busy network.
- Need to make best use of the available bandwidth
- Have multiple file servers
- Require improved performance from file servers, web servers or workstations
- Use high speed multi-media applications
- Are adding a high speed workgroup to a 10Mbit/sec LAN
- Plan to upgrade from 10 to 100Mbit/sec or Gigabit network
- 10-100Mbit/sec Auto-Negotiation on all ports, the switch automatically senses the speed of the attached device and configures the port for the proper speed. This simplifies deployment in mixed Ethernet and Fast Ethernet environments
- Auto MDI/MDI-X auto-detects whether the connected cable type is normal or cross-over
- Full or Half Duplex operation