Computer networking is a vast field where various devices are used to establish communication between different computing devices. A switch and hub are two devices that are commonly used in computer networking. However, the functioning of these two devices is different. In this article, we will discuss the main differences between a switch and a hub.
A hub is a device that is used to connect multiple devices to a single network. It works as a connector or a repeater that receives and amplifies signals before forwarding them to connected devices. A hub has a limited capacity to broadcast data to all the devices connected to it. Therefore, it is most suitable for small networks where traffic is low. In contrast, a switch is a device that connects multiple devices to a network by creating a dedicated connection between two devices that communicate with each other. It is an intelligent device that sends data only to the device it is intended for, rather than broadcasting it to all devices on the network as a hub does.
The major difference between a hub and a switch is their method of dealing with data communication. In a hub, data packets received from one device are broadcasted to all the other devices. This is a passive process where the hub only repeats the signals it receives. Therefore, when two devices connected to a hub wish to communicate, the hub broadcasts the data packets to all the connected devices, creating congestion and resulting in slow data transfer.
On the other hand, a switch is an active device with built-in intelligence that efficiently transfers data between two communicating devices. When data packets are sent to a switch, it reads the destination address of the packet and sends it only to the intended destination. This targeted transfer of data reduces the network congestion and increases the speed of data transfer.
Another difference between a hub and a switch is network security. Hubs do not provide any security mechanism to protect the network from unauthorized access. Therefore, anyone connected to the hub can eavesdrop on the network traffic, which is a major security concern. By contrast, switches offer advanced security features such as port authentication, access lists, and VLAN configuration that enhance the network's security and prevent unauthorized access.
Switches are also more expensive than hubs. This is because of their advanced features and intelligence capabilities that enable them to manage the network traffic more efficiently. In contrast, hubs are much cheaper because they have limited functionality and are best suited for small networks with low traffic.
In summary, the main differences between a switch and a hub are their method of dealing with data communication, network security, and cost. Switches are more efficient in transferring data between two communicating devices, provide advanced security features, and are more expensive than hubs. On the other hand, hubs are best suited for small networks with low traffic and do not provide any security mechanism.
To conclude, a switch and a hub perform different functions in a network. A switch is an active device that efficiently transfers data between two communicating devices, offers advanced security features, and is more expensive than a hub. A hub is a passive device that connects multiple devices to a network but does not provide any security mechanism and is best suited for small networks with low traffic. Therefore, when designing a network, it is important to choose the right device that suits the network requirements and provides efficient data transfer with enhanced security.