Hubs & Switches
From what I've read on the internet, this is what I understand about the difference between the 2:
One communication at a time
Send data out to all computers
Don't need configuring (plug & Play)
Many comms at a time
Send data where it's supposed to go
If I had a home network which contained 4 PCs and potentially a Laptop when I buy one, and I want to play games over the network, usefile and print servers and internet proxys, I am correct in assuming a switch would be better for my needs, yes? However, do they require configuration, or can they be Plug & Play as well?
(I would appreciate a speedy and easy to understand answer, I'm gonna go buy either a hub or a switch tomorrow!!!) [Posted Sunday 20th Jan, 2002]
For not much more than the cost of a good switch, you're better off buying a home cable/dsl router/gateway. It has a fully 10/100 autosensing hub, switch, and does internal NAT while providing a firewall and available connection to your DSL or Cable Modem service. I've got a 4 port right now (DLink DI704) and it does everything you want it to do. It's easy to set up as well so you won't be more than 10 minutes configuring things.
your fine just buying a hub, chances are you won't see any benefit from a switch (they tend to be useful for larger networks with more activity)
Buy an 8port hub if you can which'll give you loads of space for future expansion and if possible get a 10/100 auto sensing hub as the speed makes a big difference if your transfering large files over the network.
Unfortunately I don't have DSL/Cable, I connect thru an appallingly slow 56K modem...
I therefore do not need a DSL router, just a net hub/switch.
You don't need a switch for only 4 or 5 computers, a hub is cheaper and the performance difference will be unnoticable. You could also do as Vorlin suggested and get a router if you need the extra features, but it'll run you more than a hub.
If you do go with a switch, they are generally "plug and play" as you suggest, however more advanced switches have more features that require setting up.
shkuey, thankyou very much for your understandable answer to the question I asked! In light of this information, I shall probably still buy a switch, knowing that I can more than likely just plug it in and it will work. I like the idea of being able to upgrade if I need to, and I have 4 computers already, am planning on buying a laptop, and have my eyes on 2 base units I could run as Linux FTP/HTTP servers (P120 base units, around £30 each, not bad for a Linux based file server, eh?)
Basically I need a network i can rely on to be as fast as it can be, regardless of what I do on it!
(Example, my sister may want to access the internet at the same time as I'm updating the web server on my existing Linux box (or one of the new ones I'm thinking of buying) at the same time as I'm playing a game against a friend over the network!) I'm sure a hub would be OK for that, but a switch provides the reliability and speed that will help me to be sure I've made the right choice... If i got a hub and then found the network was crawling along at an unbelievably slow speed and there were loads of collisions and errors, I'd only take it back and get a switch anyway!
One more thing... what about the physical size of these pieces of hardware... I need to be able to put it in a concealed location.
Hubs vs Switches
We won't go into 'Single collision Domains' and 3-4-5 rules of cascading hubs vs switches.
There is a 10/10 switch with modem port from Netgear. It is also a Firewall/NAT/DHCP.
Plug your modem in to the DB9 port, and puters into the RJ45 ports and all share the internet.
Size is 1 inch high x 4 inches deep x 8 inches long