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Hub versus Switch (definitions)

By vandenhooff ·
What is the difference between these two guys: switches and hubs? How is the bandwidth shared among the clients that are plugged into each of these?

I have a cable connection and am looking at buying a cheap old Pentium so I can set up a samll LAN for my studies (MCSE).

I have been reading and shopping on the web. The cable routers (Linksys, D-Link, SMC) appear to be good candidates, but I need to know the difference between a hub and a switch first.

Thanks in advance!

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Several differences

by abrass In reply to Hub versus Switch (defini ...

A hub is like a dumb terminal compared to a switch. A computer connected to a hub sends its data to the hub and the hub re-broadcasts the data on every port, because it doesn't look at the data and has no idea where it specifically needs to be sent. Every computer connected to the hub receives the data, and checks to see if the data is addressed to them. Collisions are one of the major drawbacks of this configuration. Also computers connected to a hub will share the total available bandwidthof the hub. I.E. 10 computers connected to a 10Mb hub will only achieve 1Mb speed each. The collisions will cause re-transmissions and can slow communications down to a crawl if there is a lot of network activity.

A switch is a 'smart' device, which learns the MAC addresses of the devices attached to it. When data is received at the switch, it actually looks at the frame and sends the data out of the appropriate port. This configuration avoids collisions and allows the switch to dedicatethe total available bandwidth to each port.

Switches can be programmed to do a lot of nifty things for your network. I hope this information helps you to understand some of the differences, though there isnt enough space here to list them all.

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by ghstinshll In reply to Hub versus Switch (defini ...

Abrass is completely correct in those definitions. I'm assuming you're needing to whether to buy a cable router with a hub or a switch? If you're going to be running a small network without much data transfer (part-time LAN gaming, web surfing, usual web stuff) then a hub is fine for these conditions and is more cost-effective.

When switches become a must, are (usually for companies) when you have constant data flowing in and out of all of those (let's say 10) ports at once, at a higher utilization (let's say 60%), all day long. Then you need a switch to handle the traffic more efficiently and reduce collisions.

Many small to medium size companies use switches as a backbone, then use hubs at the workstation/cube areas to reduce theamount of traffic on any hub at one time. Again, you have just a few people doing typical things on these hubs, and there's not much need to use up a switch port for each user.

Large companies pay good money to have cabling run from (usually un-moveable) each cubicle/office back to their wire closets to a dedicated switch port, because of the constant flow of data on those ports, and they can afford to have the cabling run for each port, making things neat for all.

Most smaller places are in existing building without this kind of cabling and aren't afforded the building ability to run these cables. Switches are always a general rule in business when you can afford it and when the structure of your building allow it. In a smaller environment, hubs work fine, especially for your home LAN.

The only reason you'd want a switch on your home LAN would be if you had DSL and were hosting your own domain, web site, FTP, and other services on multiple servers. In most small cases (MCSE study) you can run these services on one or two machines, and you're not really running enough data over the lines to need a switch.

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by VNCoder In reply to Next...

Also in the worst case scenario, a switch will become a hub..........


Say, there are 8 ports...all 7 (port 2- send/receive traffic to one port, says port no 1, then you basically have a hub there - all sharing one link (port1). The switch will have to switch between all the ports...

So, where to put a hub and a switch is important. So analysis your network traffic pattern and put the correct device at the right place.

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linksys is great so far!

by mrjay67 In reply to Hub versus Switch (defini ...

I have a linksys DSL/cable router/switch. It works great and for the money is really worth it. The switch functions are not nearly as robust as say a cisco switch but still provides the extra bandwith. A hub will do ok but one of your PCs will needto be a router and do ICS/NAT. Unless your setup to get multiple IPs from cable company getting the linksys or similar unit is the way i'd go just for simplicity. You can always turn off the routing function of the linksys so you can test the routing and ICS/NAT functions of the PC.
I've seen recently that you can pick up a plain linksys cable router for about $50.00-60.00(give or take). A fair hub will cost around $20-$30. Although I have seen cheap off brands for around $10-$15.


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See "Several differences"

by LegalAlien In reply to Hub versus Switch (defini ...

See "Several differences". The explanation is spot-on!

Go for a switch if you can afford it, as your network will perform better. We use 3Com, but I was forced to use LinkSys components several months ago and am very impressed. Much cheaper and is very reliable. Great value for money.

Hope this helps.

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Buying a connection faster than 10MBS?

by admin In reply to Hub versus Switch (defini ...

That's the question I would ask. Do I need to go a lot faster than my internet connection or ridiculously faster than it is capable of.
That's just, as they say, my 2 cents.

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