A repeating hub, also known as a hub or a multiport repeater, is a network device used to connect multiple network devices together within a local area network (LAN). It operates at the physical layer of the OSI model and is designed to receive incoming data signals from one port and repeat or regenerate those signals to all other connected ports. The primary purpose of a repeating hub is to expand the number of available network ports and facilitate communication between network devices.
Functionality and Operation:
A repeating hub contains multiple Ethernet ports, typically ranging from 4 to 24 ports or more. Each port acts as a connection point for network devices such as computers, printers, switches, or other hubs. When data is received on one port, the hub regenerates the electrical signal and sends a copy of the data to all other connected ports, regardless of the destination address. This process is known as “broadcasting” or “flooding.”
- Cost-Effective: Repeating hubs are generally less expensive than other networking devices like switches and routers, making them a cost-effective choice for small-scale networks or temporary setups.
- Ease of Use: Hubs are straightforward to set up and require minimal configuration, making them suitable for users with basic networking knowledge.
- Port Expansion: Repeating hubs provide a simple solution for expanding the number of available network ports when more connections are needed.
- Limited Performance: Broadcasting of data to all connected ports leads to a significant amount of network traffic, which can cause collisions and reduce overall network performance, especially in larger networks.
- Shared Bandwidth: All devices connected to a repeating hub share the available bandwidth. As more devices communicate simultaneously, the network speed can be impacted.
- Lack of Segmentation: Hubs do not provide network segmentation, meaning all devices are part of the same collision domain. A collision on one port can affect all other devices connected to the hub.
While repeating hubs served their purpose in the past, they have largely been replaced by more advanced networking devices such as switches. Switches offer dedicated bandwidth to each connected device, significantly reducing collisions and improving overall network performance. Unlike hubs, switches use MAC address tables to selectively forward data to the appropriate destination port, allowing for better network segmentation and higher data transfer rates.
A repeating hub is a basic network device used to connect multiple network devices together in a LAN. While they were widely used in the past, their limitations in terms of network performance and lack of segmentation have led to their obsolescence in modern networking setups. Switches and other advanced networking devices have largely replaced hubs, providing improved performance, better segmentation, and higher data transfer rates in today’s networks.