Differences Between A Hub, Switch, & Router | Blog (2024)

Differences Between A Hub, Switch, & Router | Blog (1)

Hubs, switches, and routers are all common types of devices to help connect a network. Because they are often integrated into a single device, it can be challenging to understand the distinction between these items. In some cases, the terms may even be used interchangeably, though this is incorrect. The functions and uses of these devices are all very different from one another. Below, we provide a simple guide on the difference between a hub, switch, and router to help you better understand their dissimilarity.

What is a Hub?

A hub is a type of device that’s commonly used as a connection point for various devices in a Local Area Network (LAN) on a computer network. It works by receiving packets that arrive at one of its multiple ports, copying the packets, and sending them to its other ports so that all LAN segments can see the data.

When a single port in the hub responds, all other ports will also receive the response. The hub does not have any capability to distinguish which port it should send a data packet to. As such, all connected devices will receive the response and must determine whether they should accept it or not.

In comparison to routers and switches, a hub is the least complex and least expensive device. While they have often been used as a quick and easy way to connect a small network, they are becoming increasingly replaced by switches.

What is a Switch?

A networking switch is a type of hardware that uses packet switching to receive and forward data to its intended destination within a network or multiple networks. Essentially, a switch is a more efficient, more intelligent version of a hub.

Perhaps the biggest difference between a hub and a switch is the way that it delivers data packets. Rather than blindly passing along data to all devices in a network, an industrial switch records the addresses of the connected devices. In doing so, it learns which devices are connected to which ports. Then, when a port receives a data packet, the switch reads its destination address and sends it directly to the intended networking device in the network instead of every single port. As a result, a switch can greatly improve the speed of networks that receive a lot of traffic. Now, let’s differentiate a switch vs router.

What is a Router?

A router is the most intelligent and complex of the three network connection devices listed in this article. Rather than just forwarding data packets to other devices in a single network, routers are designed to forward data packets between two or more networks, as well as direct traffic between them. They are typically located at gateways and can be programmed to understand, direct, and manipulate network traffic. Now, we should be clear on the difference of a router vs switch.

Many modern routers are designed to integrate the capabilities of a switch and hub router all in a single device. Depending on the application, routers range in size from small broadband devices to large industrial wireless routers. If you still are curious on a router vs switch vs hub, please reach out to our technical team at sales@antaira.com or call us at (714) 671-9000.

Differences Between A Hub, Switch, & Router | Blog (2024)


Differences Between A Hub, Switch, & Router | Blog? ›

Routers connect multiple networks and determine the best path for data transmission based on IP addresses. Switches connect devices within a network and enable efficient data transfer using MAC addresses. Hubs, on the other hand, simply broadcast data to all connected devices.

What is the difference between a hub and a switch and a router? ›

Hub provides a lower level of security as all connected devices can "see" the same traffic. Switch enhances security by isolating traffic within each port, creating separate broadcast domains. Router improves security by separating network segments, preventing direct access between networks.

What is the difference between a router and a switch? ›

What is a router? Just as a switch connects multiple devices to create a network, a router connects multiple switches, and their respective networks, to form an even larger network. These networks may be in a single location or across multiple locations.

Why don't we use hubs anymore? ›

Hubs are not used anymore. As networks grew larger and more complex, the limitations of hubs became increasingly apparent. With all data being broadcast to all devices, network congestion and data collisions became more common, leading to slower data transfer speeds and decreased network performance.

Do I need a switch or a hub? ›

Why and When to Use Switch? Switches are more efficient than hubs, as they are better suited for connecting individual devices rather than connecting networks. It is designed to be an address-based connection, as they use the source and destination address for data transmission.

What can the router do that a hub or switch Cannot? ›

Similarly, routers are also considered intelligent devices. They can store their routing tables, which they use to determine the destination IP address of data packets. They can also make complex routing decisions faster than network switches to determine the destination of these packets.

Can I use a router as a switch? ›

When the routing functionality is not required or desired, many tiny office routers can be utilized for other tasks because they are a collection of many network devices in a small box. Your router can be set up to function as a switch, so in short, yes, you can use the router as a switch.

Can a switch go between a router and a modem? ›

Installing a networking switch can be done in two ways, the first—in connecting order—is placing it after the modem and before the router, and the second is placing it after a router that is connected first to the modem (Modem—>Router—>Switch).

Does a switch have an IP address? ›

Network switches: Do they have IP addresses? Network switches can have IP Addresses depending on whether or not they are Layer 3 Switches. In production, if a Switch has an IP Address, it needs to be a static address for the purposes of monitoring and re-configuration.

What is a router used for? ›

A router is a device that provides Wi-Fi and is typically connected to a modem. It sends information from the internet to personal devices like computers, phones, and tablets. These internet-connected devices in your home make up your Local Area Network (LAN).

What are the 3 different hubs? ›

The passive hub does not require electrical power to work. Active Hub: It amplifies the incoming signal before passing it to the other ports. It requires AC power to do the task. Intelligent Hub: They are also called as smart hubs.

What is a major issue with hubs? ›

security risks: One of the biggest shortcomings of hubs is the complete lack of even basic security features. Any device connected to a hub can easily eavesdrop on network traffic. Furthermore, just one infected device connected to a hub can cause damage to all other devices.

Why is the hub becoming obsolete in modern networks? ›

Unlike switches or routers, network hubs have no routing capabilities and simply broadcast all information to multiple ports. Because of how the network hubs function, they present serious performance and security issues. As a result, hubs are now largely obsolete, having been replaced by network switches.

Why would you replace a hub with a switch? ›

Switches are smarter and more efficient hardware devices than network hubs because of their ability to record information and learn MAC addresses.

What is the downside to an Ethernet switch? ›

Some of the disadvantages of using a network switch are: They are pretty expensive. Broadcast traffic could be an issue. Broadcast traffic can be problematic. The failure of a switching bridge brings the network to a halt.

What does VLAN stand for? ›

A virtual local area network (VLAN) is a virtualized connection that connects multiple devices and network nodes from different LANs into one logical network.

What does a hub do? ›

In networking, a hub is a device that links multiple computers and devices together. Hubs can also be referred to as repeaters or concentrators, and they serve as the center of a local area network (LAN).

What does a switch do? ›

Switches are key building blocks for any network. They connect multiple devices, such as computers, wireless access points, printers, and servers; on the same network within a building or campus. A switch enables connected devices to share information and talk to each other.

Does the switch go before or after the router? ›

Installing a networking switch can be done in two ways, the first—in connecting order—is placing it after the modem and before the router, and the second is placing it after a router that is connected first to the modem (Modem—>Router—>Switch).

What is the purpose of a router? ›

A router is a device that connects two or more packet-switched networks or subnetworks. It serves two primary functions: managing traffic between these networks by forwarding data packets to their intended IP addresses, and allowing multiple devices to use the same Internet connection.


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