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Network hub

(also ethernet hub)

Network hub definition

A network hub is a networking device that connects multiple computers or devices across the local area network (LAN) and broadcasts data to each connection. It operates at the physical layer of the OSI model, meaning it transmits data over the physical medium, such as Ethernet cables. The network hub receives data from one device and forwards it to all remaining devices on the network. However, it doesn’t have intelligence that tells it where to send information. So the network hub sends the data packets to all, regardless of whether the data is intended for them. Usually, users utilize network hubs on small networks with a limited number of devices that don’t require high-speed data transfer. Switches have largely replaced network hubs because they deliver better performance and efficiency.

See also: HTTP, node

Network hub pros

  • Less expensive than switches and other networking devices.
  • A great fit for small networks with a limited number of devices.
  • Easy to set up and require little configuration.
  • An ideal choice for novice users.
  • No congestion by data collisions or other network traffic issues.

Network hub cons

  • All connected devices share the hub's bandwidth, slowing down network speeds.
  • No option to filter data packets or selectively forward them to specific devices.
  • Impose a significant security risk for devices on the same network.

Protecting the network hub

  • Regular updates. Install the latest version of the network hub with the most recent security features to prevent hackers from accessing data.
  • Create a safe hub environment. Restrict access to data files and implement firewall rules to regulate data transmission through the ports.
  • Encrypt the connection. TLS and SSL encryption provide top-notch security against packet sniffers.