Networking

Cracking Open a Netgear DS104 Hub

The Netgear DS104 Hub

It's not a switch, but it does boast four 10/100 Mbps dual-speed auto-sensing ports. Netgear even boasted this model's "neat" metal case design provided for "an uncluttered desktop."

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

11 comments
sboverie
sboverie

The capacitors you described as providing energy to the electronic chips are part of the power supply and are filtering the dc voltage for clean power to those electronic chips.

Erik Eckel
Erik Eckel

This old Netgear hub, while a solid battleship-type piece of equipment, was replaced with a switch. I had a client that was upgrading his home network. His new cable/DSL modem included four ports (thereby bypassing the need for an additional switch or hub in his office), so I leveraged those instead. I'm curious how many IT pros still see hubs in the field. They're still out there, I'm sure.

philhartman
philhartman

Hubs like this are handy to use as ethernet taps - just put it between the device under test and the network downstream and plug in a machine with Wireshark running. There is a the loss of full duplexing however...

RichardKP
RichardKP

Essentially, there was a 2 port switch between the 100Mbit and the 10Mbit segments, each of which had 4 ports. All the auto sensing did was connect the external port to the appropriate internal port of the correct speed. The device was in reality a 100Mbit hub connected to one side of the 2 port switch and a 10Mbit hub connected to the other side of the switch. If one thinks about it, the two different speeds can only be connected via a switch, and they were expensive then. Two hubs was a much cheaper solution. Only once did I ever use such a device, I moved to fully fledged switched very soon afterwards. I have a 10Mbit hub connecting the older machines in my museum, the hub also has a BNC port as that is the only card type for the original 8 bit ISA slot of the old XT machine in the museum. All the old machines work, and I have sent email (with a lot of patience) from the XT machine. Richard.

cmate
cmate

Hubs are still a popular item in Australia because of the menial attitude of most ISPs to provide an ADSL modem that usually has only one USB and/or Ethernet connection. If you want to share the modem, you need a hub. Of course they will supply you with a modem with 4-port Ethernet capacicity if you pay them around twice the street price.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

last winter... it has 2 12 port "workgroup" hubs, pluged in series to a 24 port hub, which was in turn plugged into a 24 port switch and thus to a router.... No one ever wanted me to "take the network down" to replace the hubs one at a time... even for the 12 minutes or so it would have taken... total.. offered to spread that 12 minutes out over a week... Amazing how moving from that to switched gigabit copper seems to speed things up... Though I do miss the Christmas like shine of the collision lights.

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

The DS104 was a simple dual-speed hub. All ports heard the same traffic - the definition of a hub versus a switch.

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

Since our ISPs only give us 1 IP address, a hub won't work. We first need a router/switch capable of NAT, then maybe a hub behind that if necessary.

lost in Texas
lost in Texas

When I moved to a new town in Texas back in 2004, AT&T must have been clearing out their supply of 2-Wire one port DSL Modems. I use the Ethernet port to feed a Linksys switch very similar in looks to these photos for my office PCs and printer. And the Wireless port for my wife's walkabout laptop. Advance Australia Fair.

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

The magic number to plug in hubs, in series, was no more than 3 deep. Looks like you were almost over...

Tim Tams
Tim Tams

Sorry Q, Richard is correct. As a hub must send the same traffic to all ports synchronously, all ports must run at the same speed. A "dual-speed" hub slow everything down to 10Mbps as soon as a single 10Mbps device is plugged in on the segment. In order for devices to function at both speeds simultaneously it needs to be separated in to two collision domains, for that, you require a bridge. A bridge is a two port switch. You can tell by the pics that it has more smarts than a simple hub - note there's a ram chip? hub's don't need buffers... and see the heat-sink on the processor? even intel couldn't build a processor so inefficient that it needs a heat-sink to forward 100Mbps of traffic without inspection! (remember the days of the 'passive hub' anyone? a hub doesn't even need powered components! at layer 1 its electrically equivalent to a piece of co-ax!)