“Hub” and “switch” are two terms that get thrown around a lot, oftentimes interchangeably. But while these two devices are similar, they are not quite the same. In a nutshell, switches are an upgrade to hubs. Both are used to connect multiple computers or other devices together in a network. The difference lies with how a hub or switch handles communications between devices on that network.
Hubs are an older technology that some electronics manufacturer do not even make anymore. They are less costly than switches, but also less effective. A hub is an “unintelligent” or “dumb” electronic. It does not have any components guiding the electrical signals to specific ports. Once a signal is received in one port, it comes out of all the other ports. This sends the data to any and all computers or other electronics connected to the hub. It is up to those electronics to decide whether to do anything upon receiving that data.
Any signal passing through a hub is sent out to the entire network.
While sending data this way works, it can create some issues. The main problem is bandwidth usage. With the hub constantly sending data to every machine connected to it, hubs use a lot of bandwidth compared to switches. The more devices that are connected, the more the network is flooded with all this data. This sheer amount of data will inevitably push the hub to its limits and start to slow down the Internet and other data transmissi
The term splitter gets thrown around pretty often when it comes to cables. The average splitter works by taking an input signal and dividing it into multiple output signals. For example, on a two-way splitter each output will have half the normal strength since the signal is divided by two. However, this is not how ethernet signals work.
Simply put, ethernet signals cannot be divided the way audio/video signals can. There are devices called ethernet splitters, but they work differently from other kinds of signal splitters. However, a different device called a network switch can be used with ethernet cables for the same effect.
Ethernet splitters allow users to run one cable instead of two through walls, floors, and ceilings. But in the rooms your equipment is in, users will still need two cables. To facilitate this, ethernet splitters must be used in pairs.
For example, say you have an Internet router in Room A and need to connect hard lines to a computer plus a printer in Room B. But each room only has one ethernet jack in the wall. You would take two cables coming out of the router and connect both to your first ethernet splitter. The other side of the splitter will connect to the wall jack in Room A. Then you do the same thing in Room B, connecting the computer and printer to the other splitter and then hooking that to the other wall jack.
While these great at doing the
Cable switches are used to connect multiple signal inputs (computers, DVD players, video game consoles, etc.) to a single output (televisions, computer monitors, etc.). Switches all work on the same general principle and most are purely mechanical. A switch only goes from multiple inputs to one output; if you need to go from one input to multiple outputs, you will need a splitter instead.
Switches are used when you have a screen, such as a TV or computer monitor, that does not have enough ports. For example, say you have a TV with one HDMI port but you want to connect a DVD player, a laptop, and a video game console. One option would be to constantly reach behind the TV and switch the cables, but that gets old fast. The simpler solution would be using a switch that connects all three devices to the TV and lets you change between them at the push of a button.
Most switches are mechanical and do not require a power cable to work. The inside of a switch works similar to switching the rails on train tracks. Say you have a 2-way switch, so the signal can come in from Input A or Input B. If the switch is set to Input A and you press the button to change it to Input B, parts inside the switch move from A to B to change the connection. This is why switches can only use one input at a time. If a switch was built to use multiple signals at once, the signals would interfere with each other and none of them would work.