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Ethernet Switch Vs. Ethernet hub Vs. Ethernet Splitter What’s the Difference

When all of your Ethernet Splitter ports are occupied, but you want to add more devices, then the only way to achieve this goal by expanding it. It’s simple. But, how to choose best is not simple. You get a choice of Ethernet Splitter, switch, and hub. All three alternatives tend to grow and expand your network but in different ways. All have their pros and cons. It relies on your preference where you wish to compromise and where not to. One has to analyze their top priorities in a network. Some users prefer speed, some prefer stable connection, and some look for less costly solutions.

What Is Ethernet Cable?

Ethernet is a term for a wired family of computer networks called LANs (local area networks), MANs (metropolitan area networks), and WANs (wide area networks). Ethernet is a measure to which we connect computers and other networks device.

People assume that switch, hub, and Splitter are the same because they expand their network range. But that is not the case. If three things exist with different names in the market, then there are differences and dissimilarities between them, which people need to understand. If all three are doing the same job, then what is the point of different devices. Every tool serves a distinct purpose. They have unique attributes which are suitable for specific workplaces and environments. If one starts using it interchangeably without proper and prior knowledge, things might not work and effective as per the intentions. Perform research to get the best for you is better than wasting bucks.

The article will explain all three technologies with their usage and pros and cons to let the things know from inside to sort out this dilemma.

Let’s start with the Ethernet switch first.

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Ethernet Switch

Also called a network switch, an Ethernet switch is a networking device with a high transmitting rate. It uses the device’s MAC address to send the data. It consists of several ports. The Ethernet switches are widely used to connect a modem or an internet router directly. They consist of several ports and connect printers, computers, and cameras in offices and buildings.

In the OSI seven-layer model, ethernet switches operate on layer two, the data center layer, or the network layer on level three. Operating systems on layer three utilize packet switching to receive and send data. As it supports different packet transferring protocols, one can connect multiple devices quickly and send and receive data packets within the Local Area Network (LAN). Also, an Ethernet switch allocates the same amount of bandwidth to all of its ports, and because of full-duplex communication, one can transmit and receive data packets simultaneously.

Switches Application

  • Helpful for managing data flow.
  • Best for SOHO (Small Offices/Home Offices)
  • Capable of transferring data to another device via half-duplex or full-duplex communication.
  • Helpful in connecting devices physically.

Pros of Using Ethernet Switch

  • Help in increasing the available network bandwidth.
  • Can connect directly with systems and workstations.
  • Help to enhance the network connectivity and reduce the load on single-host systems.
  • Obtain and transmit data at the same time.

Cons of Using Ethernet Switch

  • Issues are challenging to determine in a switch.
  • Less secure and vulnerable to hacking attacks like IP address spoofing.
  • Compared to routers, switches are a bit on the bottom side.
  • Handling multicast packets are technical to configure.

Ethernet Splitter

A most common and small device, an Ethernet Eplitter is a tiny device consisting of three Ethernet ports: one on the first and two on the opposite sides. It is useful to expand ethernet connection to some extent. Bear in mind that the Ethernet splitter is not for increasing the connectivity of devices. It helps save cable by creating two points for traffic on one line. What it does is reduce the amount of Cat5 cable required to connect two networks on a LAN. Users can add as many splitters as they want to increase network lanes and reduce the need for Cat5 cable. While to unsplit the two lines, one will need another splitter in an inverted direction to do the job.

An Ethernet splitter is a device to save cable by splitting one network into two different lanes to explain it more easily. Unfortunately, the Ethernet splitter can only support two lines and still count on a 100BASE-T standard. It implies that one can expect a maximum of 100Mbps traffic speed per Ethernet port.

Splitters Application

  • Ideal for home networks.
  • Useful for connecting other networking devices. 

Pros of Using Ethernet Splitter

  • Less Cat5 cable requirement
  • They are inexpensive and readily available in markets.
  • A good remedy for network splitting
  • Does not need any program or software for configuration settings.

Cons of Using Ethernet Splitter

  • Maximum support of 100 Mbps on one ethernet port.
  • Offer only two ports for splitting.
  • One always requires pair of ethernet splitter.
  • Lower the network performance.
  • Not a reliable solution

Ethernet Hub

Ethernet hubs are no more common these days. Unlike ethernet switches, hubs are half-duplex, which means that at the moment, either user can receive the data packet or transmit it. Due to this, a situation of data holdup and clash might occur. They operate on OSI layer one (Physical layer) and are useful as a common connection point and connect LAN segments. When a hub receives a data packet, it does not know where to send it, so it transfers packets to all the ports for the sake of sending data to the destination. We can assume that it is not a smart device and just broadcast packets in one big blast because it lacks the capability to differentiate between MAC addresses. It has no intelligence in it which can identify particular targets.

Hubs are also known as multiport repeater because they copy them to other ports when they get data packets on one port. Now they have no presence in the market and are successfully replaced by switches. Probably that is why people use the terms hub and switch interchangeably.

Hub Application

  • Suitable for small and home-based offices.

Pros of Using Ethernet Hub

  • Suitable for expanding the current networking system.
  • Inexpensive compared to router and switch.
  • Support connections for different media types.
  • No effect on network’s performance. 

Cons of Using Ethernet Hub

  • Lack full-duplex mode capability.
  • Unable to filter out the information.
  • No retransmission of packets and packet collision detection.

To Sum up

Hopefully, switch, hub, and splitter are not the same thing for us. You know the differences, applications, and pros and cons of them. You know what to use when and where. Their application and usage rely on the output we want and the environment. For a quick overview, switches support full-duplex communication, and hub supports half-duplex communication, while splitter saves wires. If you wish to receive and send data packets simultaneously, you surely need a full-duplex channel and half-duplex to perform one operation at a time. And if you are running short on wires, then the splitter will suffice the requirement.

To be a little more specific, if the area is small, go for the ethernet splitter, and if the distance is long and you have multiple devices, then switch or hub. But again, hubs are now out of the network league and probably not a smart solution. A switch can be an adequate replacement for the hub now. A switch can easily disguise itself to work as a hub for you without any problems.

Moreover, if you want to develop custom network services for your organization and seek professional support, consider Cubix for an optimized and effective solution.


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