A network hub is a piece of computer hardware used to connect multiple computers to each other. It is most often used in a small Local Area Network (LAN) setting where there is little need to prevent traffic conflicts. Network hubs are generally considered the cheapest and easiest way to connect several computers so that they can share resources like internet connections.
A network hub is most often a small, nearly flat, plastic box. The network hub has 4, 5, 8 or 16 ports on the back and LED display lights on the front. It is powered by a regular household electricity from an adaptor cord.
The network hub receives data packets from each of the computers connected to the hub and transmits them to all other computers that are connected to the network.
Types of Network Hubs
There are three basic types of network hubs. Passive hubs receive and transmit data. Active hubs receive data and transmit it with amplification to strengthen the signal. Intelligent hubs also include processing functions so that they can manage and monitor traffic on the network.
Advantages of Network Hubs
A network hub allows two or more computers to access and share resources on any of the other computers on the same network. An intelligent network hub can provide the ability to monitor traffic and use of the network. Network hubs are less expensive than routers and switches.
Drawbacks of Network Hubs
Computers connected through a network hub may suffer from slower network speeds or disconnection if one computer is using a greater amount of bandwidth.