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Difference between Hub and Switch with Comparison Chart

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Difference between Hub and Switch with Comparison Chart

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 either in the on or off condition in a circuit. Answers to interview questions related to the difference between hub and switch in networking, hub definition in networking, the meaning of switch in networking, etc. can be best understood in the following paras. We have also included the difference between hub and switch in tabular form to make the process easier.

Hub vs Switch




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 (in accordance with the kind of switch in place)

Domain of collision

Just a singular 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.


Physical layers are present. Hubs can be classified as a Layer 1 device in accordance to the OSI model.

Data Link Layer is a feature of switches. The network switches are capable of operating at Layer 2 of OSI models.


The function of a hub is to connect the networks pertaining to personal computers together; 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) as well as a networking device.


It is not possible for network hubs to store or learn MAC address.

Content accessible memory is capable of being accessed by a switch. It can do so by taking help of ASIC (Application Specific integrated chips).



10/100 Mbps, 1 Gbps


No Spanning-Tree possible

Various Spanning-tree instances are possible.

Device Category

It is a non-intelligent device

A switch is an intelligent device


Oracle, Sun Systems and Cisco

D-link Juniper and Cisco

What is Hub in Networking?

A hub in computer network is also referred to as 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/or 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 a RJ45 connector. The cables can reach a maximum length of 100 meters.
  • The hub is designed to create a large network comprising of many nodes; these nodes can be attached in a hierarchical manner.

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 produced in a hub.
  • As in a hub, a switch also contains a broadcast domain. It is capable of transmitting both multicast and broadcast out of each port with the exception of the originating port. This makes a switch unsuitable for vast, scalable networks.
  • In a switch, there exists no mechanism from the layer 2 header for distinguishing different networks. Different distinct hosts can however be distinguished in a switch.

Key difference between Switch and Hub

The key difference between hub and switch are enumerated below:

  • 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 4 or more computers. Switches are more useful for home networks; especially for applications generating significant network traffic, such as that generated via heavy 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 4 computers. In 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 hub in networking, the definition of switch and the basic 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 pertaining to hub vs switch, do write to us. We will get back to you at the earliest.