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Difference between Switch and Hub

Updated Jan 07, 2020

Hub and Switch

A hub in networking allows users to connect more than one PC to a singular network. A hub may be based on Firewire, Ethernet, or a USB connection. On the other hand, a switch forms the control unit responsible for keeping the flow of electricity.

Operates on A hub operates on the physical layer. A switch performs on the data link layer.
Transmission broadcast-type Hubs perform frame flooding; they may be multicast, unicast or broadcast Switch first performs broadcast; then, the unicast type of transmission finally multicast (as needed).
Total number of applicable ports Four (it may be less or more) 24-28 ports (following the kind of switch in place)
Domain of collision Just a single domain of collision is present in a hub. Varied ports possess separate collision domains.
Mode of transmission Half-duplex Full-duplex
Method of filtering There is no scope for packet filtering in a hub. Packet filtering is possible in a switch.
Avoidance of loops A hub is susceptible to the switching of loops. A switch can avoid the switching of loops with the help of STP.
Layers Physical layers are present. Hubs can be classified as a Layer 1 device by the OSI model. Data Link Layer is a feature of switches. The network switches are capable of operating at Layer 2 of OSI models.
Function The function of a hub is to connect the networks of personal computers; this can be done via a central hub. A switch permits connections to different devices. It manages ports, VLAN security settings, etc.
Form of data transmission Electrical signal/bits Frame & Packet (L3 switch), Frame (L2 Switch)
Kind of devices Passive Device (No software). Active Device (Contains Software and networking device).
Tables Network hubs can't store or learn the MAC addresses. Content accessible memory is capable of being accessed by a switch. It can do so by taking the help of ASIC (Application Specific integrated chips).
Speed 10Mbps 10/100 Mbps, 1 Gbps
Spanning-Tree No Spanning-Tree possible Various Spanning-tree instances are possible.
Device Category It is a non-intelligent device A switch is an intelligent device
Manufacturers Oracle, Sun Systems and Cisco D-link Juniper and Cisco

What is Hub in Networking?

A hub in the computer network is also referred to as a multiport repeater. It is used for transmitting amplified signals to all ports, excluding the port that is responsible for giving out the signal.

  • It is useful for the physical linking of networking devices for facilitating communication.
  • A hub generates multiple hierarchies of the requisite stations successfully. Hubs are incapable of performing intelligent forwarding and process Layer 3 and Layer 2 related information.
  • A hub performs and takes decisions with the help of physical addressing. It does not rely on addressing the decision-making process through logic and hardware.
  • It is not possible for hubs in networking to distinguish the kind of frame that they are linked to. This is the reason why hubs forward multicasts, unicasts, and broadcasts to every single other port instead of the originating port.
  • Multiple LAN cables are capable of being connected to a given hub via an RJ45 connector. The wires can reach a maximum length of 100 meters.
  • The hub is designed to create an extensive network comprising of many nodes; these nodes can be attached hierarchically.

What is Switch in Networking?

A switch in terms of a computer network refers to a bridge that paves the ground for more effective connections and their termination. It is responsible for providing multiple functionalities, for instance, flooding, filtering, and transmission of frames.

  • A switch requires the destination address for the functional frames that it obtains from the source MAC address.
  • It performs in a full-duplex mode.
  • Every port comes with a separate collision domain. Given this, the collisions that are produced in a switch are much less than that provided in a hub.
  • As in a hub, a switch also contains a broadcast domain. It is capable of transmitting both multicasts and broadcast out of each port, except the originating port. This makes a switch unsuitable for vast, scalable networks.
  • In a switch, there exists no mechanism from the layer two headers for distinguishing different networks. Different distinct hosts can be identified in a switch.

What is the main difference between a hub and a switch?

  • A switch serves as a higher-performance alternative in comparison to a hub. Users benefit by installing a switch rather than a hub in case the network used possesses four or more computers. Switches are more useful for home networks, especially for applications generating significant network traffic, such as that produced via massive music files and multi-player games.
  • Hubs operate with the help of broadcast models, while switches operate with the aid of virtual circuit models. Reduced network traffic is put into place by a switch in the course of delivering messages. Due to this reason, a switch performs in a better way than a hub, especially in context to busy networks.
  • In case 4 computers (say) are linked to a hub, and only 2 of them interact together, a hub will pass all network traffic to all four computers. In the case of a switch, the destination of every individual traffic element, for instance, an Ethernet frame is linked up. The data is selectively forwarded to the one computer that requires it rather than to all the computers.


Now that you have a fair idea about what is a hub in networking, the definition of a switch and the fundamental difference between switch and hub, etc. you will find it easy to use a hub and switch more effectively. In case you have any further queries or distinctions about hub vs. switch, do write to us. We will get back to you at the earliest.