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What is a HUB, Bridge, and Switch? – Explained

hub bridge switch

This blog is in continuation to the Layer 2 Devices: ExplainedIf you haven’t read the previous blog, do read it now and get familiar with the crucial aspects of IT to become a skilled IT expert.

Let's Discuss a Hub

Let’s learn the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hub-

What are the advantages of a Hub?

The advantages of a Hub are as follows-

  • Hubs are more affordable than switches and bridges and are cost-effective options for small network connectivity. 
  • Hubs are easy to use. They do not require any configuration. They are like plug-and-play devices making them suitable for non-technical users.
  • Hubs are compatible with most network devices and different operating systems.
  • Provides easy and convenient solutions for network segmentation.

What are the disadvantages of a Hub?

The disadvantages of a Hub are as follows-

  • Hubs lead to network congestion. They operate by broadcasting incoming packets to all connected devices regardless of their destination leading to unnecessary network congestion. 
  • In a hub-based network, all the connected devices share the available bandwidth, which is usually low in the hub. As devices increase bandwidth utilized by each device decreases, which makes the network slow and overall network performance decreases. 
  • Hubs are not intelligent devices. They operate on the physical layer (Layer 1) of the OSI model and do not perform packet filtering and forwarding based on the MAC Address.
  • Hubs are vulnerable to security attacks. Also due to the broadcasting nature of the hub, all the information is available to each connected device which can expose sensitive data to unauthorized users. 
  • Hubs lack features like VLAN, loop avoidance mechanics, QOS, etc. 

Let's Discuss a Bridge

Let’s learn the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Bridge-

What are the advantages of a Bridge? 

The advantages of a Bridge are as follows-

  • Bridge enables network segmentation into separate LAN segments enhancing network performance, security, and network management. 
  • Bridges create separate collision domains for each connected LAN segment reducing the collision rate and increasing the available bandwidth.
  • Bridges examine the destination MAC Address and do efficient packet forwarding and filtering, reducing unnecessary network congestion. 
  • Easier installation.

What are the disadvantages of a Bridge?

The disadvantages of a Bridge are as follows-

  • Bridges have limitations in terms of the number of ports and network segments they can support since it is a 2-port device. As the number of LAN segments increases managing and configuring multiple bridges is a difficult task. 
  • Bridge also has limited features. They do not have features like VLAN, QoS, and advanced network management capabilities. 
  • Bridges are more expensive than hubs. 
  • Bridges are initially slower since the bridge updates the MAC Address table and take forwarding decision accordingly. 

Let's Discuss a Switch

Let’s learn the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Switch-

What are the advantages of a Switch?

The advantages of a Switch are as follows-

  • Switches improve network performance compared to Hub and Bridge by selectively forwarding a packet based on the MAC Address reducing network congestion. 
  • Switches increase collision domain. 
  • Each port of the switch provides dedicated bandwidth to each connected device. The Switch also operates at a full-duplex mode allowing simultaneous transmission and reception of frames between the Switch and the connected device. 
  • Switches support VLAN, which logically does the job of network segmentation. VLAN provides logical isolation of network traffic, enhancing network security and optimizing network management. 
  • The Switch has advanced features like Quality of service, link aggregation, Spanning Tree protocol, Access Control list, etc. 

What are the disadvantages of a Switch?

The disadvantages of a Switch are as follows-

  • The switch is very expensive compared to Hubs and Bridges. The cost increases with the need for managed switches and some specialized switches. 
  • The Switch is difficult to configure. Managed switches that offer advanced features and configuration requires a technical person to set up and manage. 
  • Switches are also vulnerable to cyber-attacks like IP Address spoofing and capturing of ethernet frames.

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