People sometimes use the words “hub,” “switch,” and “router” interchangeably, but these three networking devices perform very different functions. They are not always combined into a single device, which adds to the confusion.
To avoid confusion among networkers, it might help if we use the correct names for the devices. A hub is a device that connects several computers, while a switch connects two nodes directly without going through a computer. Routers, on the other hand, relay data between networks or subnets.
What is Hub?
A hub is a networking device that allows you to transmit signals to every port except the one from which signals originate. It connects segments of a local area network (LAN) and operates on the physical layer of the OSI model.
In network-compatible computing, a hub is a device that allows several computers to connect to the same network. Ethernet, Firewire, and Universal Serial Bus (USB) are some of the ways to connect a hub.
Hubs don’t analyze and process data based on the hardware and software. Instead, they make decisions purely on a physical basis.
There are three types of hubs—active hubs, passive hubs and intelligent hub.
Active hubs regenerate the signals we send out, as well as amplify them. An active hub needs electricity to work.
In a LAN, a passive hub simply distributes the signal coming from the previous ports (without regenerating any signal or amplifying it). Passive hubs don’t require any electricity to work.
A manageable hub allows network administrators to monitor network traffic, and you can configure each port on it individually.
What is Switch?
A network switch is a computer networking device that enables the establishment and termination of connections based on requirements. It connects various devices on a network operating at the Data Link layer of the OSI model.
Data transmitted over networks is often delivered electronically. This electronic data can be routed using a technology called packet-switching. Filtering, flooding, and frame transmission are just a few of the characteristics of a switch. It is also known as efficient bridge.
There are two categories of switches – Modular Switches and Fixed-configuration switches
Modular switches let you add necessary expansion modules as your network grows, which lets them adapt to your business needs. They are fairly pricey, but can provide you with the most flexibility in terms of adding capabilities and capacity when necessary.
Fixed-configuration switches offer a limited number of ports and cannot be expanded, making them less expensive. They include unmanaged switches with a fixed number of ports and both smart and managed switches that need to be configured for features by the user.
What is Router?
A router is a networking device that connects two or more networks by forwarding data packets between them. It operates at Layer 3 of the OSI model and is used to connect two or more networks. A router is a device that uses IP addresses to route or forward data from one network to another. A router is the smartest and most difficult of the hub and switch combinations.
There are 5 types of router – Wireless router, wired router, edge router, core router and virtual router.
Wireless routers allow you to share an Internet connection among multiple devices, such as your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. If you place the wireless router indoors, its connection will reach about 150 feet; if it’s placed outdoors, then the range can be more than 300 feet.
A wireless router connects to a modem using an Ethernet cable. It converts binary data packets into radio signals and broadcasts them using antennae. A wireless router does not create a local area network; instead, it creates a WLAN—a wireless local area network—which connects multiple devices using wireless communication.
Just as a wireless router connects to a modem with an Ethernet cable, so too does a wired router use an Ethernet cable. With that cable connected, and separate cables then connecting to the devices on your network, you can create your own local area network (LAN), and link all your devices on that LAN to the Internet.
If you are at a bank or a small campus, you can see that the computers are connected to the Internet using an Ethernet cable. That is the wired router.
The distribution router is the second name given to the edge of a router, which sits on the edge of the backbone of the network and can be connected on either wired or wireless lines. It sends internet data packets to one or more networks, but not within networks.
Core routers run on the backbone of a network, while edge routers distribute packets across multiple networks. Core routers are responsible for heavy data transfers.
You can turn your computer into a router, creating a virtual router and allowing other devices to connect to your computer in the same way they would connect to a standalone router.
Difference Between Hub Switch And Router: Hub vs Switch vs Router
|Basis of Comparison||Hub||Switch||Router|
|In a Local Area Network(LAN), a hub is a sort of equipment that serves as a connection point for numerous devices||The switch allows you to set up and terminate connections as needed.||A router is a networking device that sends data packets from one computer network to another.|
|Mode of transmission||Half-Duplex||Full-Duplex||Full-Duplex|
|Data transmission||Electrical signals or bits||Frame and packets||packets|
|Used for||LAN networks uses hub.||LAN networks uses switch as well.||Both MAN and LAN uses Router|
|Speed||10Mbps||10/100 Mbps, 1 Gbps||1-100Mbps(wireless); 100Mbps-1Gbps(wired)|
|Layer||A hub is a physical layer networking device||A switch operates on the data link layer.||A router is a network layer networking device.|
|Data transmission Address||Does not use IP/MAC address.||Stores MAC address and maintains address.||IP address|
|Ports||4/12 ports||Whereas a switch can have 24 to 48 ports.||2/4/5/8 ports|
|Transmission Type||Frame flooding,unicast, multicast or broadcast||First broadcast, then unicast and/or multicast depends on the need||First Broadcast then Uni-cast and multicast|
|Types||There are two types of hub: Active and Passive hub.||There are two types of switches: Modular switches and fixed-configuration switches||There are two types of routing: Adapting and Non-Adapting routing.|
Advantages of Hubs
- Network hub is less expensive to operate
- A network hub gives you full control over your networking needs
- A network hub can easily expand your existing wireless network for better coverage.
- There is no installation required and no configuration required for a network hub setup.
- Compatible with different brands
- They can provide a central location for all of your shared devices.
Disadvantages of Hubs
- Can’t handle modern traffic demands
- Difficulty to switch between devices
- You can’t control who’s on the network
- The more devices you have connected, the greater your risk of problems.
- The bandwidth is limited by the available bandwidth of the network connection.
- It’s mostly half-Duplex
Advantages of switches
- supports many protocols and topologies
- can be used in a LAN or WAN configuration
- has a simple interface
- is easy to install
- is not very expensive
- network switches are a great choice for any business.
Disadvantages of switches
- Network switches are fast but they lose their connection constantly.
- Switches can’t process large amount of data.
- Network switches are expensive and difficult to troubleshoot.
- Wires connecting network components might interfere with other switches.
- Switches are more expensive than hubs, but switches are also more efficient.
- Automatic configuration changes made by the operating system are impossible to reverse.
Advantages of router
- Router connects multiple computers and devices at the same time.
- Routers have built-in firewall protection that keeps your computer safe from unwanted attacks from the Internet.
- Network maintenance and troubleshooting via SW-based features.
- Wireless router provide mobility and portability
- With a router you can prioritize your network traffic so that certain types of traffic always has priority over others, ensuring that more important data gets through quicker than less important data.
- It helps you to define the paths that data traffic will follow through a network.
Disadvantages of router
- Configuration is not simple as it looks.
- Routers are prone to hacking
- Needs regular maintenance
- It is more expensive than a switch
- Small wireless range
- It consumes a lot of memory and this can cause the memory to be swamped, resulting in slowness.
Applications of Hubs
- Network hubs can be used for many purposes, including connecting wireless devices like printers or cellphones.
- Network hubs are widely used in office settings
- A network hub can be used to monitor traffic loads on networks, since it keeps track of individual source, destination and protocol information for each packet that passes through it.
- They allow for information to be shared with multiple computers.
- They provide a central location for adding, removing and managing network cables.
Applications of switches
- Network switches are able to reduce the number of collision domains in a network.
- It can create Path redundancy in the network.
- Network switches can be used to filter packets.
- Network switches increase the security of a network.
- Network switches can provide power over Ethernet connections.
- Network switches can help monitor network traffic.
Conclusion: Hub vs Switch vs Router
In this topic, we have looked at the difference between hub switch and router. In a nutshell, hubs and switches are used to build local networks. They connect devices together so that they can share resources. Routers, on the other hand, make connections between networks so that different devices can communicate with each other.