Ethernet Hubs vs. Switches: What is the Difference?
“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 transmissions for all users.
The other key issue is security. When sending data from one machine to another, only the targeted machine should be doing anything with that data. But every other machine on the network is also receiving that data. Anyone with the ability to get onto the network and the right know-how could intercept and steal data. Hubs are an option when working on a tight budget, but be aware of the problems that come with them.
Switches are essentially the new-and-improved successor to hubs. A switch uses “smart” or “intelligent” technology, meaning it controls where incoming signals are sent instead of sending them out in every direction like a hub. Managing data this way eliminates both of the hubs main problems: bandwidth and security.
A signal passing through a switch will only go to its intended destination.
Since data is only being sent to a specific machine when a signal is transmitted, instead of out to the whole network, switches use significantly less bandwidth per signal than hubs. Because of this superior data management, a switch can support larger networks even when it has the same amount of maximum bandwidth as a hub. Whereas a basic hub might have 8 to 12 ports, an equivalent switch can often support 24 to 48 ports.
The issue of security is also fixed since data is not sent out to every networked machine when using a switch. Even if someone unauthorized manages to access a network running on a switch, no network data will automatically be sent to them. This does not make security breaches impossible, but it is more difficult for someone to break into a network through a switch than a hub.
Buy Your Ethernet Switch Today
ShowMeCables offers a variety of Ethernet switches. Given the fact that switches are superior to hubs in every way, there is really no reason to not use a switch. While hubs technically cost less than switches on average, the difference these days is typically just a few dollars. And switches have been around long enough that they are a very budget-friendly technology at this point.
Each switch sold at ShowMeCables is tested to federally regulated standards to ensure quality. Have questions about switches or any of our other products? You can reach our Sales team at 888-519-9505 or Sales@ShowMeCables.com