Difference between Hub and Switch

Key Difference: A hub is a device that connects multiple Ethernet devices on one network and makes them act together as a single network. A hub does not gather information and input in one port results as an output in all ports on the network. A switch is a networking device that performs the same job as the hub but are considered as a more intelligent hub as it gathers information about the data packets it receives and forwards it to only the network that it was intended for.

Hubs and switches are devices that are used in data networking on the internet. These devices are used in order to connect two or more networking ports in order to transfer data along the connection. Though the primary job of hubs and switches are the same, to forward data to different networks, they work in different ways.

A hub, also known as Ethernet hub, active hub, network hub, repeater hub or multiport repeater, is a device that connects multiple Ethernet devices on one network and makes them act together as a single network. A hub has multiple input/output (I/O) ports, in which an input in one port results in it being an output in all the other ports, except the port where it was input. In layman’s terms, a hub connects many networks into one, where a data packet that is sent by one networks, is copied and pasted to all network ports, making it so that every port can see that data packet. A hub works on the physical layer or layer 1 of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. It also works as a data collision detector, sending a jamming signal to all ports if it detects collisions at one port.

It is a simple device that does not examine the data it receives or sends, while just duplicating the data and making it visible for all. The receiving port that has to decide if the data packet is actually intended for it by checking the address on the packet, before passing it on further. Since hubs only have one collision domain, constant collisions occur. Unnecessary traffic is sent to all devices on the network. Originally hubs were popular due to the high price of switches, but switches are not so expensive these days. Hubs are slowly becoming obsolete in many practices, but are still used in special circumstances.

A switch is a networking device that performs the same job as the hub; it connects network segments or devices making them act as a single network. Switches are commonly referred to as a multi-port network bridge that process and routes data on a data link layer or layer of the OSI model. Switches can also process data at the network layer (layer 3) or higher layers and are known as multilayer switches.

Switches are considered as a more intelligent hub as it gathers information about the data packets it receives and forwards it to only the network that it was intended for. When a switch receives a data packet, it examines the data address, the sender and the receiver and stores the memory, after which it then sends the data to the device that the data is meant for. Most modern Ethernet Local Area Networks (LANs) operate on switches. Small offices and residential devices commonly use single layer switch, while bigger applications require multilayer switches. The switches use a bridge or a router in order to split a larger collision domain to smaller collision domains, resulting in lesser collisions.  Each port has an individual collision domain, allowing computers to maintain dedicated bandwidth.

 

Hub

Switch

Definition

A hub is a connection point for different segments of a LAN. It contains multiple ports and when it receives a packet of information at one port, it copies this packet to all segments of the LAN so that it can be viewed by all ports.

A switch is multi-port networking device that connects network devices together. A switch operates at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. A switch filters and then forwards data packets between networks.

Layer

Physical Layer (Layer 1)

Data Link Layer (Layer 2)

Spanning-Tree

No Spanning-Tree

It allows many Spanning-Trees to take place.

Type of Transmission

Broadcast

Broadcast, Uni-cast & Multicast.

Table

No MAC table. Hubs cannot learn MAC address.

Stores MAC address and maintains address.

Used in

LAN (Local Area Networks)

LAN (Local Area Networks)

No of Ports

4

24-48 depending on type of switch.

Collision

Occurs

No collision occurs

Collision Domain

One collision domain

Every port has its own collision domain.

Transmission Mode

Half duplex

Full duplex

Image Courtesy: thingsfinder.com, explainingcomputers.com

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