What is the difference between a hub and a switch?

Asked 14-Nov-2017
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1 Answer


Hub : The hub is also known as a multiport repeater. It transmits the amplified signal to each port except the sending port i.e. the one from which the signal was received. A hub is basically used to link the networking devices physically for communication and successfully generate multiple hierarchies of stations. But hubs are unable to perform intelligent forwarding It is also unable to process layer 2 and layer 3 information. It just makes the decision on the basis of physical addressing instead of hardware and logical addressing. The hub cannot distinguish the type of the frame, that is the reason it forwards unicast, multicasts, and broadcasts to every other port except the sending port.

Basically there are two types of hubs : 

  • Active hub : It provides amplification and regeneration of the signals along with the connection
  • Passive hub : It only provides the connection but not amplification and regeneration

Switch : Switch is nothing but an intelligent hub. It is a device which enables the connections and provides the choice to terminate them. It provides multiple functionalities like filtering, flooding and transmission of frames. It needs the destination address of the frames which it learns from the source MAC address. 

The difference can be summed up in the following table : 

Operates on Physical LayerOperates on Data Link Layer
It can only perform broadcastIt can perform unicast, multicast and broadcast
It can have more than or less than 4 portsIt has 24-28 ports
It has only one collision domainDifferent ports have different collision domains
It only transmits in half duplex modeIt transmits in full duplex mode

It does not have any provision for packet filtering

It has provision for packet filtering
It is susceptible to switching loopsIt can avoid loops by using STP

What is the difference between a hub and a switch?

Image of HUB

What is the difference between a hub and a switch?

Image of SWITCH