Dwight Watt Tech Tip 5 - 1-16-2005

Switches and Hubs

If you have a network or are considering putting in a network you want to consider whether to buy a switch or hub to connect your computers together.

Switches and hubs are both devices that are used to connect a group of computers together. They are the box the PCs all attach to. The primary difference in switches and hubs is that switches are more intelligent and hubs are basically dumb devices. When something is sent form one PC to another ion a network with hubs the information really goes to all the PCs. Similar to putting a message on an AM/FM radio station, everyone tuned to that station hears it.

When something is sent form one PC to another PC on a network using switches, the information is only sent to the PC it was intended for, and none of the others hear it. This is similar to making a phone call, your call only goes to the person you are calling, not everyone with a phone.

As a result of this difference, networks using switches run much faster than networks using hubs. Traditionally switches cost a lot more than hubs. However in the last couple of years switches have come down in price close to hubs.


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