About routers, hubs, and switches

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Forum visitor mustbjones needs a little gentle understanding in regard to routers and hubs. He or she writes:

My house is wired with three Ethernet drops fed by the three ports on my router. I got a new Internet-ready TV for Christmas and I plan to put it in the same room as one of the computers. My question is can I put a hub in the room to handle both the TV and computer and still be connected to the single port on the router?

Sure. The router is the brains of the outfit. String an Ethernet cable between the router and hub, configure the router to distribute IP addresses via DHCP, plug whatever you like into your hub, tell your devices to pull their addresses from the router, and the router will take care of the rest.

By way of background, hubs are almost entirely stupid. Any data that comes into the hub is distributed to all the ports on the hub and the devices attached to them (whether those devices can use that data or not). An Ethernet switch is more discerning than a hub. It knows which port a particular device is attached to—so, for example, it understands that your TV is attached to Port 2—and sends data for that device only to the port it's attached to. As you might imagine, a switch is more efficient than a hub.

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