What is Hub

Table of Contents


A hub is a fundamental networking device used for connecting multiple computers or devices within a local area network (LAN). In its simplest form, a hub operates at the physical layer of the OSI model, primarily responsible for transmitting data packets between devices in a network. Though hubs have been largely replaced by more advanced networking devices such as switches and routers, it is crucial to grasp their basic functionality to comprehend network architecture.

What is Hub ?

A hub is a common connection point, also known as a network hub, which is used for connection of devices in a network. It works as a central connection for all the devices that are connected through a hub. The hub has numerous ports. If a packet reaches at one port, it is able to see by all the segments of the network due to a packet is copied to the other ports. A network hub has no routing tables or intelligence (unlike a network switch or router), which is used to send information and broadcast all network data across each and every connection.
Although most of the hubs can recognize network troubles or errors like collisions, broadcasting all information to the several ports can be a security risk and cause bottlenecks. The network hubs were popular in the past time as they were cheaper as compared to a switch or router. Nowadays, switches are much cheaper than a hub and provide a better solution for any network. Furthermore, a hub is no IP address, as it is a dumb device.

Types of Hub

There are three types of the hub that are given below:
  1. Passive Hub
  2. Active Hub
  3. Intelligent Hub
Passive Hub: The passive hubs are the connection point for wires that helps to make the physical network. It is capable of determining the bugs and faulty hardware. Simply, it accepts the packet over a port and circulates it to all ports. It includes connectors (10base-2 port and RJ-45) that can be applied as a standard in your network. This connector is connected to all local area network (LAN) devices. Additionally, the advanced passive hubs have AUI ports, which are connected as the transceiver according to the network design.
Active Hub; In comparison to a passive hub, an active hub comes with extra features. It can monitor the data being sent to connected devices and plays a crucial role in managing the data flow. The active hub utilizes store technology to check and prioritize the packets that need to be sent.
Moreover, it has the capability to fix any damaged packets during transmission and efficiently manage the distribution of remaining packets. If a port receives a weak signal that is still readable, the active hub enhances it into a stronger signal before sending it to other ports. This feature is particularly helpful in boosting signals when there are connectivity issues within the network, ensuring uninterrupted services in a local area network (LAN).
Intelligent Hub; The intelligent hub takes things one step further compared to passive and active hubs. These hubs are equipped with management software that aids in analyzing network problems and finding solutions. They operate using shared bandwidth and broadcasting techniques.
Furthermore, an intelligent hub functions within a single collision domain and broadcast domain. Its operations occur at the physical layer of the OSI model while also supporting half duplex transmission mode.

Feature of Hub

It is incapable of establishing a virtual LAN and does not have the capability to support the spanning tree protocol. Additionally, most packet collisions tend to happen within the hub. Moreover, it offers flexibility by providing a high transmission rate to various devices.

Applications of Hub

Here are some key uses of a hub;
  1. Hubs are commonly employed in small home networks.
  2. They play a vital role in network monitoring.
  3. Organizations often rely on hubs to facilitate connectivity.
  4. Hubs can be utilized to establish network accessibility for various devices.

What hubs do?

Hubs act as central connections that link all network equipment together and handle data in the form of frames. When a frame is received, it is amplified and transmitted to the port of the intended computer. Even if a frame is only meant for one port, it gets passed through all ports on the hub. This lack of selective port decision making leads to increased network traffic and potential network damage. It’s worth noting that hubs are slower compared to standard switches since they cannot send or receive information simultaneously, but they are more cost effective.

Advantages of Hub

Advantages offered by hubs include;
  1. Support for different types of Network Media.
2.Affordability. Anyone can make use of them due to their low cost.
3.It has the ability to effortlessly link various forms of media.
4.The inclusion of a hub does not have any negative effects on the performance of the network.
5.Moreover, it can extend the overall range of the network.

Drawbacks of a Hub

  1. One limitation is its inability to determine the most optimal network path.
  2. It lacks features like collision detection, which can lead to inefficiencies.
  3. Operating in full duplex mode and segment division are not possible with a hub.
  4. Without any mechanism to reduce network traffic, it cannot alleviate congestion.
  5. Another drawback is its inability to filter information while transmitting packets across all connected segments.
Moreover, hubs cannot connect different network architectures such as ring, token or Ethernet setups.


In conclusion, hubs played a significant role during the early stages of networking when simplicity and cost effectiveness took precedence over advanced features. However, in most modern network setups, hubs are now considered outdated. This is due to their lack of intelligence compared to switches and routers, which results in inefficient data transmission and network congestion. With technologies like Ethernet switches that can efficiently direct data packets only to the devices that require them, hubs have become obsolete in professional and high performance networking environments. Nonetheless, understanding the concept of hubs remains important from both historical and foundational perspectives in computer networking knowledge.
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