In the networking technology sphere, a special type of network device called hub is increasingly being used. From homes to small and major businesses and networks, hubs have become an integral part for smooth conduct of business operations. The key features of hubs in networking can be explained in terms of passive, active and intelligent hubs. At the physical layer, hubs do not read any of the data passing through them and neither is aware of the source or destination and thus can support very little in terms of state of the art networking.
Technically hubs have been classified as of three types namely, passive, active and intelligent. While passive hubs do not amplify the electrical signals of incoming packets before broadcasting them out to the network, active hubs provide with this amplification. An intelligent hub however, adds extra features to an active hub that is crucial to the success of businesses. On account of their low cost and cost effective solutions, hubs are significant to the needs of the contemporary businesses.
In the physical form, a hub is a small rectangular box usually made of plastic.
A hub that joins multiple computers and networks receives its power from an ordinary wall outlet and forms a single network segment. Hub as a facility provides for a direct communication channel which all computers on the same network can access to and use the system accordingly.
A networking hub that provides direct accessibility to all computers on the system comprises of a series of ports. Each of such ports accepts a network cable and hence provide for the accessibility of all the linked computers. A reasonably advanced IT infrastructure, literacy, multi language capabilities, professionals with communication skills and creativity, credibility and rapport with the user community and series of ports are important components that form part of hubs.
One has to understand the usefulness of a hub in the context of his own requirements. Factors like the number of ports that a hub features, rating of the bandwidth, the manufacturer and its market credibility are important to determine if the hub is right for one. For instance, a simple Large Area Network (LAN) would require a four port hub while a five port hub if provided with an unlinking facility, offers a positive compromise between up front cost and future extensibility.
However, a hub with more number of ports could be considered if there are plans for future expansion. In terms of the popular existing ports, a four port hub supporting 10 Mbps Ethernet with features of dial up, cable modem and DSL internet services are considered to be among the least expensive ones.
A lot of research is still going on to make hubs as more convenient, user-friendly, supportive of high configurations and cost effective. Activities like online gaming, sharing of large amount of data and files over a huge network make hubs a very popular proposition for large networks in all spheres of home, business and governmental activities across the world.