Its name in English is ethernet switch, ethernet splitter, switch, or hub. What is a hub? A switch or hub, which in Spanish we could call a switch, is a device that allows computers and devices to be connected to a network. This network can be local (LAN) and keep it that way or connect it to the Internet. The Ethernet hub or switch is very common in professional internal networks, for offices or public buildings. But it can also be used and is used in the field of video games.
An ethernet switch or network switch fulfills several functions. It allows us to connect a large number of devices to the Internet via Ethernet cable, which means not losing connection speed, as is the case with wireless networks. Especially if the router is at a great distance from the devices that connect to the network.
In addition to the non-loss of speed, it facilitates the creation of local networks or local area networks, known by its acronym in English LAN. The LAN networks in gaming, are ideal for making network games in the same room, connecting multiple computers. This way we guarantee that there is no external server involved and that all players play under the same conditions and under the same latency.
What is a hub and how it differs from the router?
When we see an ethernet hub or switch, it is easy to mistake it for a router. Both offer multiple ethernet-type inputs, the best way to connect a device to the Internet. However, the switch usually has more inputs than the router. And, in addition, they do different things.
A router, like the Movistar Router that all Movistar clients enjoy, is the link between the Internet and your connected devices. Not only that. Its role is to manage data traffic between the networks it connects, internal and external.
For its part, the hub or switch connects computers and other devices to each other. In practice, it is used to create a wired local network. As we said, in gaming, it is very useful to do multiplayer games without depending on the Internet.
In principle, the hub and the switch are not exactly the same. The former is simpler than the latter when it comes to sending data between connected devices. However, today both devices offer the same features, so we usually use the two names synonymously. Third, the router is an improved and more complete version of the switch, since it can act as a hub, a switch, and, in addition, connect devices and local networks to the Internet.
The question we can ask ourselves is if we have a router, why do we want an ethernet switch? The answer is simple. You may already have all the Ethernet inputs on your router occupied and need more to create a LAN network of, say, four or five players.
The second and more frequent possibility is that you cannot connect the gaming devices directly to the router due to the distance between them. What’s more, it is more convenient to connect gaming equipment to the network switch and, in turn, connect the hub to the router. This way the installation and wiring will be better organized.
The Ethernet hub or switch and online gaming
Although originally the use of a hub or switch was associated with local professional-type networks, today its use has also been extended to local and online, amateur or professional video games.
If we take a look at the physical and online technology stores, we will find specific network switches for gaming and, according to those responsible, optimized for online gaming and streaming. In this second case, real-time video retransmissions require fast connections, something that classic Ethernet connections guarantee.
Another advantage of using an Ethernet hub or switch is the ability to configure each Ethernet port separately. And in current models, everything can be managed through a graphical interface, as with routers: from the browser. And like routers, hubs or switches allow us to manage ports according to the activity we want to carry out: gaming, streaming, standard local network …
Regarding data traffic, current switches have functions such as QoS, Quality of Service, which is responsible for prioritizing data traffic between connected devices. This way you can focus the bandwidth on the device that is playing over others that perform tasks that require less speed.