Difference Between Hub And Switch

The terms “hub” and “switch” are often used in computer tutorials, and sometimes in the wrong sense of the word. So I thought it was important to make a point again about the real difference between a hub and a switch, I’ll explain everything to you. Difference Between Hub And Switch

What is the difference between a hub and a switch?

These are two pieces of computer equipment used to connect computers on a network, but there is a big difference in the way they work. While the hub transmits all the packets to all the machines (broadcast), the switch only transmits the packets to their true destination

In the following article, I will explain how these two teams work and their differences. I would also do some additional information with other equipment that is also frequently found on a network, such as a router or modem

Lets start by the beginning  Difference Between Hub And Switch

Computer network  Difference Between Hub And Switch

What is called a computer network is simply the act of linking multiple computers together. This allows, for example, file sharing between computers, printing to the same printer or playing the same game in multiplayer.

If you have multiple devices in your home (including tablets and smartphones), they are most likely networked already, as they are all connected to the same Wi-Fi network.


When you start from scratch (no Wi-Fi box, or no box at all), you have to find a way to connect the computers to each other. This does not work by “magic” and computers are not designed to connect to each other directly (usually just one network port)

That’s where hubs and switches come in, as we’ll see later. It is a small box in which all the computers are connected to form a network 

This box has a number of ports, usually between 4 and 48, which allows you to connect as many computers


Definition of switch

The switch is, therefore, a network equipment that allows the interconnection of several computers on the same network. In Spanish this term is translated as «commutator».


The switch has the advantage of filtering the received packets and forwarding them only to the recipient:

This mode of operation is the main advantage of a switch over a hub (see the next section for operating a hub)


Today we use almost exclusively switches, hubs have no more utilities; So 99% of the networks are connected through switches, either for a small network or large networks that use several switches to power all the computers.

To use 2 or more switches in a network, simply connect them with a network cable. Computers connected to the first switch will be able to see the machines connected to the second.

The hub

But then what is a hub? Let’s see its definition:

Definition of hub

A hub is also a piece of computer equipment that connects multiple computers on a network. It is the very beginning of network computing. Think of a hub a bit like a power strip, providing a network for all the computers, but nothing else.

Hub operation

As I implied during the switch presentation, the operation of a hub in a computer network is very different

The hub is a lot less smart than the switch, so to speak. When A wants to send a message to D, the center will forward the message to everyone and hopefully D will get the message.


Hubs are hardly used today. Forwarding messages to the entire network each time, unnecessarily overloads the network and causes a significant drop in system performance.

In terms of price, the first changes are now quite affordable ( see the price on Amazon ) and it is not a criterion to prefer a center.

Other network equipment  Difference Between Hub And Switch

Now that you have the answer to your initial question, maybe we can try to go a step further and look at two more widely used network devices?


The router is another piece of computer equipment that connects two networks to each other. Although it is highly unlikely that you will use a router at home, it does not hurt to know a little more.

As we have seen before, it is possible to connect two switches together to expand a network. In the case of a router the idea is similar, but with a distinction of the two networks.

Without going into details, this may allow different rights to be granted, depending on the network. For example, let’s imagine a “payment” network and a “operational” network. A router allows you to say that the “paid” network has access to the “operational” network but not the opposite

Often there is a firewall software in the routers, which allows to define these operating rules

The modem Difference Between Hub And Switch

Finally, the modem that you know for most, is globally your internet box.

The modem is a device that allows you to connect to an external network (generally the Internet) using a predefined technology: ADSL, fiber, … and take advantage of this access to the network directly connected to the modem.

If you want, it’s a bit like a router, but one of the two networks is the Internet

Did you know…

Isn’t it possible to connect two computers directly to each other? If you only have two networked computers, you can use a crossover cable (found here on Amazon for example) between the two computers. You will have to assign an IP in the same network to both computers, and put the main one as a gateway. This allows you to share an Internet connection or play multiplayer.

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