Guest Author - Cathy Spearmon
One of the most commonly used networking hardware devices are hubs. However, the inexpensive switch is rapidly replacing the hub. Anyway, hubs serve as central connection points for local area networks (LANs) that typically embrace the star topology.
The basic hub contains no active electronics and cannot be used to extend a LAN past its cabling distance specifications. Yet, hubs organize your cables and relay data signals to all computers that exist on your LAN.
Hubs are used on networks where twisted-pair cabling is used. The ports, which are available on the hub, provide connection points for the devices on the network. Computers and devices are connected to the hub via network cables to individual ports. In cases where a LAN outgrows the size of its hub, a new hub can be attached by daisy-chaining them together using a short connection cable, which is often referred to as a rattail.
Hubs come in many different shapes and sizes and are available in a wide range of prices. The more ports available on the hub, the more expensive the hub. Also, hubs that support faster varieties of Ethernet, for example Fast Ethernet, will also cost more.