Can you create a network just by interconnecting a few computers? Sure you can. However, most networks for businesses tend to be more complex and sophisticated. That makes a certain level of organization necessary to ensure that data on the network makes it to its destination. Hubs, switches and routers are used to provide that organization at differing levels of sophistication.
Hubs are very basic network devices that enhance and send on electrical signals. They don’t have the capacity to sense where frames are supposed to go and tend to flood all directly connected devices with its data. As a result, it can bog down an entire network. This might work for smaller networks like a home network or small business that only have a few devices to worry about. However, hubs are not very suitable for medium- or large-scale networks with many devices that might have data to send or receive. Most serious network administrators opt for more advanced devices like switches and routers.
Examples of Hubs
Switches operate like an intelligent hub that “knows” which device is connected to each port. They use Content Addressable Memory (CAM) to match each IP address contained in packet information with the corresponding MAC address imprinted on the device and route packets to their destinations. More capable switches can also process permit/deny and protocol-specific traffic. Because switches are more capable than hubs, they can be used to divide a network into more manageable segments.
Examples of Switches
The most common port (or interface) speeds are 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps/1Gbps. A dedicated fibre port is usually used to connect a switch to another switch. There are also dedicated management ports that network administrators can connect to when they set up the initial configuration, as well as troubleshoot and maintain their switches. A typical switch will provide access to servers and routers, segment the network, and connect network devices.
As the name implies, routers determine the best route for data packets traveling over a network. Most modern networks make use of routers for functions such as IP telephony, switching, security, and connectivity over telecom networks. Because routers are expected to serve multiple functions, they are also modular. They have a chassis and empty slots that can be used for routing and switching modules. The multiple functions also make routers more complex than switches to set up and maintain, especially if they are used in large organizations that work with sensitive data that needs to be secured at as many levels as possible.
Examples of Routers
Devices like routers and switches are preferable for providing a single point of entry for each segment of your network and increasing the efficiency of your resources.
Routers and Switches on eBay