No matter how hard I think I can not find a practical usage of a Hub. Is it obsolete as of 2018? Or there is really a valid use case?

Is there a situation where we choose to use Hub instead of Switch? It seems switch is much smarter and is always a better option.

  • 1
    Yes, put them in the attic along with your MAUs and vampire taps.
    – Ron Trunk
    May 16, 2018 at 12:34
  • @RonTrunk Hi, sorry can you elaborate more? I am not familiar with these terminology. Many thanks!
    – Zanko
    May 16, 2018 at 12:45
  • 1
    In a galaxy far far away, before the dawn of twisted pair, we used various kinds of coax cable. On the back of the computer was an AUI port (15-pin D connector with horrible sliding latch), which you connected to a Media Access Unit which had the circuitry for the particular media. Fat coax didn't have connectors, you pierced the cable. For history see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_tap and related pages. Twisted pair is much, much, better.
    – jonathanjo
    May 16, 2018 at 13:31
  • @jonathanjo But it also requires a direct connection between the machine and the local switch/hub. In the old times, it was enough to install a single cable for the whole office, now a cable is needed for all the machines. This huge overhead is a main improver factor of the cable-less solutions today.
    – peterh
    May 16, 2018 at 13:41
  • @peterh: of course I agree though I remember the single cable was a very amusing single point of failure in many installations; certainly there are extra costs in star-wiring vs bus-wiring; indeed wifi and similar is lovely and convenient.
    – jonathanjo
    May 16, 2018 at 13:47

3 Answers 3


For production use, get a switch.

For specialist reasons you might want a hub in your toolbox:

  • Educational purposes, especially collision behaviour
  • Timing purposes, especially if you put an oscilloscope on the signals
  • Traffic sniffing, though it's not really any better than a switch with monitor port
  • Interfacing with old things

Ethernet hubs are outdated but still sometimes found here and there.

A hub receives a frame and floods it out to all ports. A switch is learning MAC addresses and only floods too all ports when it sees an unknown MAC address in an Ethernet frame. This behavior makes hubs great for sniffing network traffic.

HUBs are limited to 10/100 MBit (at least I haven't seen one operating at higher speeds) and can only operate at one speed. Modern switches are operating at much higher data rates (1G, 10G, ... 100G).


you can use a Hub to sniff traffic, i always have one for that :)

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