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Monday, March 1, 2010

Hubs and their types

Hubs have become an integral part of various network and business systems. Hub, sometimes referred to as a concentrator or repeater Hub, refers to a networking component which acts as a convergence point of a Network, allowing the transfer of data packets.

Characteristics of Hubs :
- Hub is a small plastic box which takes its power from an ordinary wall outlet.
- Multiple computers are joined through a hub.
- On this network segment, all computers can communicate directly with each other.
- A hub includes a series of ports that each accept a network cable.
- Hubs are the layer 1 devices while switches and routers are layer 2 and layer 3 devices respectively.
- Hubs do not read any of the data passing through them and are not aware of their source or destination. Essentially, a hub simply receives incoming packets, possibly amplifies the electrical signal, and broadcasts these packets out to all devices on the network - including the one that originally sent the packet.

Types of Hubs :
- Passive Hubs : They do not amplify the electrical signal of incoming packets before broadcasting them out to the network. Their contribution in enhancing the performance is very less. It does not help in any way in the troubleshooting operations. Most of the passive hubs are easily obtainable at a lesser cost.
- Active Hubs : They amplify the incoming signals. An active hub is sometimes referred to as multiport repeater. An active hub takes a larger role in Ethernet communications with the help of technology called store & forward. If the data received being weak but readable, the active hub restores the signal before rebroadcasting the same. An active hub provides information n devices on the network which are not yet fully functional.
- Intelligent Hubs : This hub typically behaves like a stack. It is built in such a way that multiple units can be placed one on top of the other to conserve space. It has the ability to manage the network from one central location. With the help of an intelligent hub, one can easily identify, diagnose problems and even come up with remedial solutions.

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