Routers, Switches, and Hubs

In an Ethernet network, there are 3 devices that may appear from the outside to look or be very similar. These devices, however, are as different as night and day. Here we shall look at the differences between hubs, switches, and routers.

Hub - (This type of device should not be used.)

A hub is a device that divides a single Internet connection into multiple connections. Hubs do not create a home network, but simply allows multiple devices to be connected to an existing network at the same time. Hubs literally divide the Internet connection by the number of devices you have connected to it. For example, though a hub, a 10 mbps Internet connection connecting to 4 computers would allow each computer to have 2.5 mbps.

Switch - (This type of device should not be used in most situations.)

A switch is a smarter version of a hub. Switches also do not create a network. Switches will intelligently divide bandwidth between devices it connects. If 4 computers are connected to a switch that is providing a 10mbps internet connection, it will allow an individual computer to use all of the 10mbps if no other devices are currently requesting bandwidth. The Internet connections, however, are not simultaneous—if multiple devices are being used, the connection will be constantly split between each connection. This will cause Packet Loss (Buffering).

Router – (This type of device is recommended for our customers.)

Routers are most commonly used to create home networks and to connect the user’s home network to his/her ISP’s network. Connecting a home network to an ISP’s network provides internet connectivity for the devices on the user’s home network.

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