Ethernet Switch vs Splitter: Which one is Right for You?

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Nowadays, most companies use local area networks to communicate between the departments. For that, the demand for Ethernet is getting higher. However, the router has limited ethernet ports available, making the number of attached devices lower. Luckily, there are different types of splitting the Ethernet connection to connect more network devices in one go. It includes Ethernet Switch vs Splitter, and so on.

While these many options are on-hand, you can get confused. The simple criteria to choose between them is your requirements. So, you can consider the reliability, speed, flexibility, and security of each of the systems and then apply it to your home or office.

What is an Ethernet Switch?

Network cables connected to a switch

Caption: Network cables connected to a switch

An Ethernet switch contains several additional ports to form a high-speed network. Since the device has multiple ports, it has to split the signals among them with less interference. Here, you will connect the router with one port while others will be free to attach the other devices.

The switch will identify every single Ethernet connection with the help of its network address. That way, it will transfer the data to the intended client, and no traffic will get mixed. Network switches come in different sizes, with various port numbers, anywhere from 5 – 52 ports.

Through packet switching, the network switch breaks the traffic into lower congestion paths. This way, it ensures that the data is delivered quickly to the client’s devices. Thus, the connected devices receive optimum bandwidth without the interference of external networks. Also, the switch follows the protocols of full-duplex communication. With its help, the network traffic is received and sent simultaneously, making the overall working efficient.

But, there are some issues with the switch technology. With the switch connection, the users might face a slower data speed. Moreover, the switches require a power supply just like other routers, and the need for energy somehow makes the purpose of the button blurred. Additionally, the controls are a little expensive if you need one with good functionality.

What is an Ethernet Hub?

Patch cables connected to Ethernet hub

Caption: Patch cables connected to Ethernet hub

Network hubs are also designed to have a single Ethernet cable connection from the main router and access a range of devices. Unlike switches, hubs treat all the traffic like a single network segment and free up the connecting ports by repeating the upcoming signals.

The hub uses a half-duplex communication method, and thus it cannot send and receive data simultaneously.  Also, the connectivity speed decreases, while the interference in the connection increases in hubs prominently. That may be the reason why switches are preferable for a high-speed networking device.

When many devices connect to a hub, you may experience much higher interference, and the connection is slow. In addition, much bandwidth is wasted due to the high collision of upcoming and outgoing data.

Ethernet hubs, however, have a successful function of protocol diagnosis due to the half-duplex method. It helps to view the traffic all over the network with our any problem. Hubs can extend your network while not being heavy on your pocket. Also, these are the first choice in systems where you do not want much traffic speed.

What is an Ethernet Splitter?

Caption: A simple tow-port Ethernet splitter with an Ethernet cable

Among all the splitting devices, the Ethernet splitter is the simplest. It works just like a coaxial cable transmission system to split the single internet connection into two. With the help of splitters, you can set a single cable in all of your house wirings. However, you have to attach two separate lines from the splitter to the other two devices.

The splitter does not increase the number of connected devices by more than 2 in each period. In design, it takes advantage of the design of 10 and 100 Mbit Ethernet. Since these cables use four wires, unlike any other line such as Cat 5e, etc., which has eight wires inside it, thus, it has fewer wires but a throughput of 100MB/s in total from both the ports.

Splitters are cheap and easy to use, plus set in your house. Also, they do not need any power supply to work. Hence, many people choose it for reducing the number of wires between close areas such as two rooms or a small office set up.

What to choose?

Let us put up the facts about each of the devices and analyze them side by side.

Ethernet Switch vs Hub

  • Switches are expensive, whereas hubs are affordable. However, now you can get switches for the same price as hubs, and thus hubs are becoming obsolete from the industry.
  • Switches use the full-duplex, whereas hubs use the half-duplex method, making two-way communication more effective in switches.
  • If a network has few devices, the hubs are a good choice because they handle fewer devices efficiently. However, if the number of connected users increases, you might have to switch to a more robust option, which is an Ethernet switch.
  • Hubs are good when it comes to traffic diagnostics, as they can let you look into all the traffic sent across the network to any router ports. In contrast, the switches restrict port diagnostic tools and leave the broadcast messages visible upon special requirements.

Ethernet Switch vs. Splitter

  • Ethernet switch follows protocols, has multiple ports for power input, and needs a proper setup. Whereas, splitter is a simple device, and it is a small extension to your current Ethernet cable that divides it into two connections.
  • Splitters do not require energy to work, whereas the switches need a power supply as it is a powerful device.
  • Network switches have several high-speed ports, which can connect multiple devices at the same time. Unlike switches, splitters can hold up to a maximum of two devices.

Thus, if you want to expand your communication system to a fast network, which can support many devices, you require a switch. It will be an investment that will never disappoint you. However, the splitters work best if you have a small, two-room setup in-home or office.

Other options to consider

In addition to the network switches, hubs, or splitters, you can divide the connection using the following methods.

Mesh WIFI

Rather than spreading the signals from a single WiFi Router, the Mesh WIFIs use multiple access points. Some may call these access points satellites. The satellites receive the primary router’s signals and spread them across the building. Since all the satellites broadcast the same WIFI signals, you do not need to put the credentials again and again. Instead, the devices capture the signals by using the same credentials all over the place.

Therefore, if you lose signals in a particular place at home or working area, or a WIFI dead zone, you can use an additional device to help reach the signs up to that area without any interference.

Ethernet over Power Line (EOP)

Ethernet over Power Line (EOP) is an intelligent way to induce internet connection in buildings with old wirings. Hence, if you are not a fan of additional wiring in your home, you can use the EOP method.

To set up an EOP system, all you need is a transmitter and a receiver. You will attach a transmitter to the router and plug it into the power outlet, and you will connect the power outlet to the receiver and then to the device on the receiving end.

Here, the transmitter receives the signals and converts them into electrical signals. In contrast, the receiver will get the electric alert and transform it into internet signals. Thus, you can set up the network just by purchasing a suitable transmitter and a receiver.

MoCA

Again, to reduce wiring, you can set up the network over coaxial cable. If you have the TV cables installed in your house, all you need is a MoCA adapter, and it will connect the router and the coaxial cable port you have in the room where you need internet.

A simple MoCA Adapter 

Caption: A simple MoCA Adapter 

Conclusion

To conclude, if confused between an Ethernet switch, hub, or a splitter, you can look into some factors. The network switch is recommended in many cases as it connects more devices and is a robust solution. Here at Cloom, we offer a wide range of cables to support your ethernet connection. For more information, contact us now.

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