A Hub is a common connection point for devices in a network. Hubs are commonly used to connect segments of a LAN (Local Area Network). A hub contains multiple ports. When a packet arrives at one port, it is copied to the other ports so that all segments of the LAN can see all packets.

What Hubs Do

Hubs and switches serve as a central connection for all of your network equipment and handles a data type known as frames. Frames carry your data. When a frame is received, it is amplified and then transmitted on to the port of the destination PC.

In a hub, a frame is passed along or “broadcast” to every one of its ports. It doesn’t matter that the frame is only destined for one port. The hub has no way of distinguishing which port a frame should be sent to. Passing it along to every port ensures that it will reach its intended destination. This places a lot of traffic on the network and can lead to poor network response times.

Working With Ethernet Hubs

To network a group of computers using an Ethernet hub, first connect an Ethernet cable into the unit, then connect the other end of the cable to each computer’s network interface Card All Ethernet hubs accept the RJ-45 connectors of standard Ethernet cables.

To expand a network to accommodate more devices, Ethernet hubs can also be connected to each other, to switches, or to routers.

Characterist of Ethernet Hubs

Ethernet hubs vary in the speed (network data rate or bandwidth) they support. Some years ago, Ethernet hubs offered only 10Mbps rated speeds. Newer types of hubs offer 100 Mbps Ethernet. Some support 10mb, 100mb and 1gb.

The number of ports an Ethernet hub supports also varies. Four- and five-port Ethernet hubs are most common in home networks, but eight- and 16-port hubs can be found in some home and small office environments.

Older Ethernet hubs were relatively large in size and sometimes noisy as they contained built in fans for cooling the unit. Newer devices are much smaller, designed for mobility, and noiseless.

When To Use an Ethernet Hub

Ethernet hubs operate as Layer 2 devices in the OSI model, the same as network switches. Although offering comparable functionality, nearly all mainstream home network equipment today utilizes network switch technology instead of hubs due to the performance benefits of switches. A hub can be useful for temporarily replacing a broken network switch or when performance is not a critical factor on the network.

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