What is a Router, a Switch and a Hub and how are they different

There is enormous confusion when we ask ourselves how a Router , a Switch and a Hub differ . In principle, we have the concept that a Hub and a Switch are devices that do practically the same thing, but it is that at the same time the Router is capable of carrying out the functions of the latter two .

In this post we are going to do a review one by one to know what they are and why it will be more advisable to use one or the other , and in this way clear all the doubts that surround these three devices.

What is a hub and what is it used for?

Starting with the Hub, we can say that this is the simplest device in this comparison, and its only function is to be able to interconnect different computers on a local network . Its operation is really simple: when any of the different computers on the local network are connected to it, it transfers data, the Hub starts to replicate it and transmits this data to the rest of the computers connected to the same network.

If you send information to computer A, it will also be replicated to computers B and C

Therefore, we can say that the Hub is considered a central connection point of a network, and is usually used to interconnect different computers that are connected within the same local network. In addition, it is a really useful tool given its nature for network analysis since, by repeating and distributing the same data among all computers, possible errors that occur within a specific network can be easily analyzed.

Of course, we must bear in mind that this device does not allow you to connect to the Internet , nor does it allow you to send the information data to certain computers, since it only copies those it receives from the sending computer and copies them by sending them to the rest of the computers connected to the network. equally.

Another detail to take into account is that while this data exchange is being carried out, no other computer can send another signal with information until this process is finished , in addition to the fact that the bandwidth is really high.


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What is a switch and what is it used for?

If we review the Switch, we realize that this device has a philosophy really similar to the Hub, since it is also used for the creation of local networks. The main difference that we find in this device with respect to the Hub, is that here the data sent by the sending computer goes directly to the destination computer without there being a replica of it.

If you send information to computer A, it will only be copied to its recipient

Therefore, we obtain a clear advantage, and that is that while we send data to a computer on the local network, the rest of the equipment can continue to send data between them. In fact, this device was created with the aim of being able to work with a greater number of connected equipment than what we can do with a Hub, therefore, having a much more fluid communication between them, substantially reduces the amount of errors that can get to be generated.

In this case, the Switch works through the so-called MAC addresses , something really useful to be able to identify each computer independently and decide from where we send our data and which is the exact recipient of the same, without having the need to must be copied to the rest of the computers that are connected to the same network.

What is a router and what is it used for?

Finally, we have to review what are the functionalities of the Router and what is this device used for. We must start from the base that the Router can carry out the same functions of the Hub and the Switch , since it incorporates a Switch with between 4 and 8 Ethernet ports .

Thanks to the Router, you can connect your home network with another external one

In this way, the Router is not only capable of transferring information between computers that are connected to the same local network, but in this case we can also do this with computers that can also connect to other external networks.

In general, these computers incorporate security technologies such as a hardware-based firewall , NAT , a DHCP server and DNS server , so we will not have to install anything additional to have a secure connection away from problems.


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How are these three devices different?

As we have seen, the Hubs and Switches are devices with a really similar operation. The biggest difference between them is in how they send the data between the different computers connected in the same local network , since the Hub sends this data to all the computers equally, while from the Switch we can select the only recipient of the same.

And as for the Router, it offers the same functions as the latter two but taking it a step further, allowing not only to be limited to a connection between computers in the same local network, but also by extending this limit to other computers connected to an external network.

But, do not panic, since today when you hire an internet service at any company, it will always install a Router for you. In this way, you will be able to enjoy the connection both in local networks with the rest of the computers that you have connected to it and allow any of these computers to connect to the Internet.

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