Whether you are working on the internet, intranet, or printing out a document, you are doing so through the work of hubs, switches, and routers. Though these three terms are often used interchangeably, they are three unique pieces of technology that are becoming harder and harder to live without, especially when it comes to industrial networking.
A hub can be used to connect multiple computers together at the local level. However, since a hub cannot tell one computer from the next, all information that comes in through the hub is transmitted to all computers that are attached to it. While this can be a security nightmare, some companies continue to use hubs as a means of ensuring that no one is spending their days on social media instead of working.
For the most part, hubs have been replaced by networking switches. They are similar to hubs in that they connect computers at the local level. However, unlike hubs, switches can tell computers apart and will therefore only send the information to the computer that requested it. By doing so, switches also use less bandwidth and cut down on the “traffic” that is on your network.
In addition, there are a variety of different types of switches, some of which allow you to manage what programs and computers get more security and more bandwidth. For example, the CEO and CFO may require more security on their computers, while those in the advertising department may need more bandwidth for video compellation.
You can also choose to install industrial Ethernet switches in the manufacturing plant as they are better suited to deal with extreme temperature, shock, and vibration that come with production. Moreover, they can also work even when they are disconnected.
While hubs and switches connect computers at the local level, a router is needed to connect it to the rest of the world. It uses an address to make sure that the information gets to where it belongs. For example, when you search for something on the web, your router ensures that your search terms are sent to the search engine and the results are returned.
A router must work with either a hub or a switch in order for you to both send and receive information from outside of your own network. While you can get your printer to print with just a switch or hub, you cannot do much else.
A router will take the information sent from your computer to the switch and send it out on the internet to its intended recipient. Without the router, it would only go to your printer or another computer on the network. Furthermore, the router would have nowhere to send information received without a hub or switch. The information would come in and just sit. A hub will send it to everyone, a switch to its intended target. If you are using industrial switches, you can even tell it when to send it and under which circumstances.