A Perfect Guide That Explains the Differences Between a Hub and a Switch

Hub, and Switches are the network devices designed specifically to work in the OSI model's physical and the data-link layer. They provide various network-related services to the channel and are used in different ways to connect network models.

Understand through this article on ‘Hub vs Switch’, the difference between the working of a network hub and a network switch, based on different comparison objectives. 

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What Is a Hub?

A network hub is a device that connects multiple units in a closely connected network channel. So, hubs are preferred to be used in LAN networks.


A hub does not use either MAC address or IP address to guide the data to its destination device, so it broadcasts the message in the entire network, and this way, all the devices receive the same message, creating an excess of network traffic.

Next, let’s look into the network switch.

What Is a Switch?

A network switch is a device responsible for guiding data using the source address and destination address encapsulated in the header of the incoming message. This prevents the broadcasting of the message to the entire network and, in turn, prevents network congestion.

The switch uses the MAC address for forwarding the data to the data-link layer in the network model and guarantees that the data frame is received without issues. It uses a full-duplex data exchange method and performs unicast or multicast network connections.

Moving on let’s look at the working of the network devices.

Working of a Hub and a Switch

A hub acts as a central connection point for transferring the data to the destination point. Still, due to the lack of any intelligence or processing unit installed in the hub, it broadcasts the message to all the connected devices in the network.


Working of Hub

The network switch identifies the source and destination address from the header of the data frame or packet to transmit the data to its destination. It also uses the MAC address through the application of a network card installed in the network device.


Working of Switch

Let’s move on to the next heading, ‘why and when to use Hub or a Switch?’.

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Why and When to Use Hub?

Hubs are easy to handle and install as they don’t need complex processing activity and provide multiple port connections. Some of the points regarding the functioning of the hub are as follows:

  • Hubs are most efficient in the case of LAN networks. Due to the limitation of connected devices.
  • Handling network traffic becomes challenging but can be resolved using MAC addressing by network cards.
  • More complex the connection, the less efficient the network connection. The connection should have around four devices for best performance.

Why and When to Use Switch?

Switches are more efficient than hubs, as they are better suited for connecting individual devices rather than connecting networks.

  • It is designed to be an address-based connection, as they use the source and destination address for data transmission.
  • Handling network traffic becomes easy, transmitting data to the destination device.
  • They are complex in processing, as they can perform protocol processing, along with other network processes.

Let’s move on to the main heading for this article, the difference between Hub and a Switch.

Difference Between Hub and Switch


Difference Objective




OSI Model

Hub is a Physical layer network device, i.e., 1st Layer. 

The switch is an active Data-Link layer device, i.e., 2nd Layer.


Data Transmission

Hub is based on the “Half-Duplex” data exchange model.

The switch applies the “Full-Duplex” form of data transmission.


Device Classification

Based on the Broadcasting method for the message transfer.

Applies Multicasting or Unicasting for data exchange.


Cost of Installation

Installing a hub in a network model is low cost.

Switches require a moderate cost of  installation in the network.


Processing Capability

A network hub does not have any processing capability.

Switches are installed with processing units to determine the info from a data frame or packet.


Data Format

Hub uses electrical signals or bits as data format.

The switch uses data frames or packets for transmission.

With the completion of the difference between hub and switch, we have reached the end of this article. 

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In this article on ‘Difference Between Hub and Switch’, we looked into the network devices hub and switch information. Further in the article, we also learned about the working and the differences between a network hub and switch.

If you want to move deeper into the topic and learn more about the working and features of network devices, you can refer to Simplilearn’s Cyber Security Expert course.

If you have any questions about this article on ‘Difference between Hub and Switch’, feel free to post them in the comments section at the bottom of this page. Our expert team will help you solve your queries at the earliest.

About the Author

Anmol KapoorAnmol Kapoor

Anmol is a Research Analyst who aims to become a Data Scientist one day. He enjoys Data Management systems and analysis. You will find him reading a book when he is not working.

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