Before any two devices could be attached, they need to intersect at a certain place. In the context of computers, this intersection, which hooks up several users together, is called a hub. A hub that supports Ethernet standards is called the Ethernet hub. It connects devices and makes them function as a single network segment.
The most important function of the Ethernet hub is to forward large packets of data, also called packets, from one computer to another. The data goes through all the ports that are hooked to the hub.
How Ethernet Hubs Work
Ethernet hubs work at the layer 1 (physical layer) of the open systems interconnection (OSI) model. Because of this, the hub is also called the layer 1 switch. The hub is a form of a multiport repeater, which forwards jam signals to all connected ports if a collisions are detected.
The number of ports that an Ethernet hub supports varies. There are some that only support one port, while some support eight or more ports. The hubs with multiple ports are very common in big offices with numerous inter-connected computers.
Disadvantage of Using an Ethernet Hub
The only disadvantage of using an Ethernet hub is that data can be forwarded from only one source at a time. If there are many computers connected to the hub simultaneously forwarding data to others, a collision will happen. This drawback can be compared to a one-way road, wherein vehicles coming from the wrong direction are likely to cause disorder.
Types of Ethernet Hubs
There are different types of Ethernet hubs. Some have screens that show the network usage information. These allow the user to identify how much data is being passed on among computers. Other types of Ethernet hubs vary depending on the broadband speed or the speed of the network connection.
The newer array of hubs available in the market are comparatively smaller and do not create noise. The earlier versions are noisier due to built-in fans needed to cool the system.
An Ethernet hub is usually situated in a corner or in a location where there is not much movement, since any kind of motion can interrupt its operation. Most computer networks today have hubs, even homes.