Hubs, switches, routers, and modems are distribution and network connection equipment that, despite having similar functions, are distinguished from each other by the way they do their jobs. It is important to know some details about them, such as when buying a product to share an internet connection or to extend a local network.
The hub is very old equipment, being one of the first to be used by companies in local networks. Basically, it connects computers to a network and enables the transmission of information between them. But it is exactly in this transmission that its weak point is: When it takes the information from one computer to send, it passes the information through all the computers until it finds the final recipient. This causes huge traffic and exposes the data to anyone who is connected to it, creating a serious security issue.
Therefore, because of the way it works and the dangers arising from it, the hub fell out of use a few years ago. Although some companies still use it (believe me, this still happens), it has been losing ground as manufacturers have come up with a smarter solution to replace it: the switch.
Created primarily to solve the problems that the hub presented, the switch is a device that has basically the same function performed in a different way. Unlike its predecessor, a switch, as it is also called, receives the information to be transmitted and passes it only to the recipient, avoiding exposure to other computers.
The process is performed by decoding the packet header and locating the receiver information of the data. The machine stores recipient addresses in a table in its memory. This way, it can deliver the information only to the intended machine and thus can also reduce network traffic.
Remember that even in a network with a switch it is still possible to capture information through sniffer techniques. Equipment must have some special protection to prevent this type of theft.
As for features, switches can be classified as manageable and unmanageable. The main difference between them is that the former is limited to just connecting devices and transmitting data within the network, while the latter, besides doing so, has tools that allow you to remotely administer it or even view reports on certain aspects of the network.
A router is an equipment that plays the role of an intermediary, enabling the exchange of packets between separate networks. This work is performed following a set of rules that are found in the routing table.
The use of such devices is common in situations where it is necessary to interconnect different networks, but at the same time, keep them isolated.
Routers can be found as closed equipment or as computers with more than one network card using an operating system configured for this function. In the latter case, most PCs used as firewalls also act as a router because of the inherent security work of this type of functionality.
A modem is an electronic device that modulates a digital signal into an analog wave that can be transmitted over the telephone line, demodulates the analog signal, and converts it back to the original digital format, creating communication between two points.
However, it is important to note that, unlike dial-up modems, ADSL does not have to convert the signal from digital to analog and vice versa, because it is always digital – which can even be seen in the name of the technology: ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line.
Convergence and deception
In the current scenario, the equipment has come up with many of the features mentioned here integrated into one place. A good example is ADSL modems with Wi-Fi. These devices have switch, modem and router functions. In these cases, the main beneficiary is the consumer, who can use a device without having to worry too much about the details of its functions, as they are usually well integrated. However, even these products require the user some prior knowledge of the networking concepts discussed here in order to be well used.
On the opposite side of multipurpose devices, it is also worth remembering that some manufacturers market equipment with the name of the switch, but are actually hubs. In this situation, it is important that you evaluate them well and inquire before purchasing them. A tip goes for any outfit: give preference to well-known brands, as this can avoid inconvenience in the future.
The bottom line is that even with improved equipment that is easier to use every day, when it comes to networking, it’s always good to understand a little more so that you don’t risk buying something too powerful or simplistic for your needs.
We offer support for Belkin router, so if you want to perform Belkin router setup, then you should make sure that all the connections have been properly done. If you come across any issue while setting up Belkin router, then you should consult experts.