Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hubs versus Smart Switches

In building a few networks over the year most people are confused as towards why they want a managed switched or managed hub over just a plain old hub. In my testing I used a couple of units and the results were almost identical with totally different gear. Hub versus Smart Switch

The first beast was a 16 port smarts switch by Addtron. Pretty decent but an unmanaged smart switch gives you no control over the network traffic. 10 base T I think.

Second beast was 3Com Superstack 2 . PS Hub 40 - which is a 10 megabit managed hub.

After doing allot of testing at the ten mega bit level ( for wireless network purposes) we found the results were better for the SuperStack versus the smart switch. Why would you care about a hudb you ask ? Most routers have limited ports (4-5) and hubs are cheap ways of extending those ports. Hubs sell for 10-20 dollars are most used places and are very easy to find at thrift places for just a few dollars.

In hooking a hub to a switch you will either need a cross over cable or a cross over port on the unit that switches. The 3com did not have one but the Addton did. At full load I was getting only 50 percent of my bandwidth through either device switched or hubbed, meaning it only goes so far at 10 megabit. The overhead is higher.

You can use 10 megabit gear but make sure your intersections in your network are not being choked. use a managed hub or switch and set limits on your ports, and add filters if needed to stop unwanted traffic from flooding your network.

For the money Hubs are cheapest, for the quality of service a nice Cisco 2924XL with enterprise OS , will be the best quality for the money in todays market. The Addtron and 3com were both ebay buys for under $29.

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