Hub vs Switch vs Router

Learn difference between Hub, Switch and Router hands-on

266 Participants 30 Minutes Beginner

In this hands-on lab, we will explore the distinctions between a Hub, Switch, and Router by creating separate networks using these devices and then analysing the networks through packet transfer. Cisco Packet Tracer, a robust network simulation tool, will serve as our platform. You will gain insights into the functionalities and roles of these network devices. By the end of this lab, you will have a practical understanding of how Hubs, Switches, and Routers influence network performance and data flow. This exercise will help you grasp crucial networking concepts and enhance your ability to design efficient network infrastructures. In this lab we will:

1. Create a network using Hub

2. Create a network using Switch

3. Create a network using Router.

4. Analysing these networks by making packet transfers.




There is no prerequisite for this lab, but it will be a good idea to checkout the 1st Networking Lab, “Connecting Two PCs” to get used to the Platform and understand the basics of networking.



A hub is a basic networking device that operates at the physical layer (Layer 1) of the OSI model. It serves as a central connection point for various devices in a network, allowing them to communicate with each other. Unlike more advanced networking devices like switches and routers, hubs lack intelligence and do not make forwarding decisions based on MAC addresses.

When a device connected to a hub sends data, the hub broadcasts that data to all other devices connected to it. This broadcasting method makes hubs inefficient and can lead to network congestion and collisions, especially in larger networks.

Hubs are rarely used in modern networks because of their limitations. Instead, switches have largely replaced them due to their ability to make intelligent forwarding decisions, leading to improved network efficiency and reduced collisions. Hubs are now considered obsolete in most network environments.



A switch is a vital networking device that operates at the data link layer (Layer 2) of the OSI model. It functions as a central point for connecting devices within a local area network (LAN). Unlike hubs, switches possess intelligence and have the capability to make forwarding decisions based on MAC addresses.

When a device sends data to another device on the same network, the switch examines the destination MAC address and forwards the data only to the specific port where the destination device is connected. This intelligent routing eliminates unnecessary network traffic and collisions, resulting in a more efficient and faster network compared to hubs.

Switches are the cornerstone of modern LANs, significantly enhancing network performance and security. They enable devices to communicate efficiently within a LAN by creating dedicated communication paths and learning the MAC addresses of connected devices. In essence, switches have largely replaced hubs in today's networks due to their superior performance and ability to manage data traffic intelligently.



A router is a critical networking device that operates at the network layer (Layer 3) of the OSI model. Its primary function is to connect multiple networks together and facilitate data exchange between them. Routers are instrumental in directing data packets between different IP subnets or networks, making them essential for interconnecting various parts of the internet.

Routers use routing tables and algorithms to determine the most efficient path for data to travel from its source to its destination. They analyze the destination IP address of each incoming data packet and decide where to forward it based on the best available route.

Besides their role in routing data between networks, routers often provide additional features such as Network Address Translation (NAT), firewall capabilities, Quality of Service (QoS) management, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) support. These features enhance network security, manage traffic, and enable secure remote connections.

Hub Switch Router
It is a broadcasting device. It is a multicasting device. It is a multicasting device.
Connects devices in the same network. Connects devices in the same network. Connects devices in different network.
A single device can send data at once. Multiple Devices can send data at once. Multiple Devices can send data at once.
It doesn't store any devices' info. It stores MAC addresses. It stores IP Addresses.
Doesn't maintain any table. Has a MAC address table to manage data transfer. Uses Routing table with IP addresses to map data paths.
Difference between hub, switch and router.


Refer to these links and tutorials for more information

1. https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/difference-between-hub-switch-and-router/

2.  Cisco Packet Tracer - Networking Simulation Tool (netacad.com)



In this hands-on exercise, we thrive to clear our understanding of hubs,switches and routers using Cisco Packet Tracer, a powerful simulation tool. You'll gain practical insights into network setup, IP addressing, and foundational skills. No prerequisites are necessary, as this serves as a foundation for more advanced networking concepts. Cisco Packet Tracer simplifies this learning process, offering a virtual environment for network creation and troubleshooting, making it an ideal resource for students, educators, and IT professionals.So let’s dive into the lab and get the practical understanding of these wonderful concepts.

Hub vs Switch vs Router


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