What’s The Difference Between Hub, Switch, And Router

Whenever we listen to the term network, there are some specific devices that come to our mind like routers, servers etc. Back at school, we did learn about various protocols and the software components associated with them. But one of the most major elements of the network is its hardware components. Let’s get deep down within the infrastructure of the internet and learn some information about these terms.

Router Vs Switch Vs Hub

LAN (Local Area Network) is a term used for a group of computers connected to a server in a distinct geographic location, like office etc. To distribute a LAN within a group of end-user devices, we need devices like Hub, Switch and Routers.

What Is Hub?

The Hub in a network is a device that has multiple ports in it. Multiple devices can be connected to the LAN using the ports. Whenever a packet reaches a port in the hub, it depicts the packet into multiple copies. It then forwards them to other ports so that they can reach the connected devices. The hub is specifically used to expand the number of users in the LAN.

What Is Switch?

On the other hand, Switch is a network device that divides the LAN connection into separate networks. It is used when a LAN is flooded with data traffic. We need to create separate channels to distinguish the traffic for each specified nodes or devices.

What Is A Router?

A Router is a network device that works to transfer data packets in a network of multiple devices or end users. As the name suggests (route) its sole function is to direct the specific network traffic to its destination by choosing the shortest path possible. Whenever you send an email or download something or even browse a page, the content is converted into several data unit called Packets. The router then delivers them from the source to the destination.

The router is more likely a fancy PC. It has its own processor, storage, memory, and Network Interface Cards (NIC). A modern router houses multiple NIC cards, as it routes between networks.

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Difference Between Hub And Switch

The Hub and the Switch are generally used within a LAN to distribute the connection with different nodes or end users in the network. The Hub generally broadcast any information from one user to all the other users connected within the system.

hub
Hub

For example, suppose there 4 computer systems named A, B, C, and D connected with a Hub. Any information sent by A will be visible to B, C, and D. If D respond to the received data with another piece of information. Then again A, B, and C every one of them will see the response. There is no security for the information. The Hub works on the first layer of the OSI model i.e. the physical layer. Thus the hub works on wired connection likely ethernet cables.

The Switch allows you to segment the network traffic according to the end user. It comes to work when you wish to forward certain information to someone specific without bothering others. A switch lets you handle data and knows the specific location of the receiver computer. The Switch works on the second layer of the OSI Model i.e. the data link layer. It provides a node to node data transfer which enables it to establish and dismiss a connection between 2 computers within a network.

switch
Switch

For example, 4 computer systems within a network namely A, B, C, and D. If A intends to send a message to C, then B and D will not be notified and the message will only be accessible for C only.

Why Router Is Different And Better Than Hub And Switch

The concept of distinguishing Hub and Switch to a Router is quite wrong. The router is an entirely different device. It acts as a pivot point which connects the WAN (Wide Area Network) to the (Local Area Network). While the Hub and Switch work within the LAN to transmit the connection to different nodes available.

router
Router

As described earlier, the router specifically routes packets in the network and transfers them to the destination node. The Router works on the 3 layers of the OSI model, that is the Network, Data Link, and Physical layer. It can control the transmission of data using a wired connection like an ethernet cable. It provides a node to node data transferability to the end users. Within an interconnected network of multiple routers, it utilizes an internet protocol and exchange information from one router to another to find the destination computer to deliver information from the source.

The router can choose the shortest path available out of the various paths to send packets to the destination node. It uses the source and destination address encrypted within the packets and exchanging information from the interconnected network of routers.

Another advantage of the Routers over Hub and Switch is the Firewall. A firewall is a security layer between a network and the Internet. A router is an interface that connects the Internet service to the LAN. So a Firewall is installed in the router to protect the information of the end users from various cyber attacks. Most of our PCs have a software-based firewall. The router has a software-based as well as a hardware-based firewall for extra security.

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Summing Up

The Router is a completely different kind of device. It is silly we differentiate it to the Hub or Switch. The services offered by the Hubs and switch does not even come close to the features of a router. For some situations, we sometimes do connect a switch to a router to distribute a network to a large number of devices. With modern advancement, the router these days are coming with multiple RJ45 ports for handling large no. of devices itself. These modern routers will reduce the usability of hubs and switches and will completely eradicate them. If you liked the information about Routers, Switch and Hub please mention your experience in the comments.

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