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No, no, not like your Switch card or Visa card... You're in the Networking section now :-)
Although I'm sure if you're reading this you have SOME idea about networking, I will explain first the basic difference between a switch and a hub (Network experts please forgive the following paragraphs)
>>> A hub will usually work at an elementary level, making a verbatim copy of all data it receives on each of its ports to all of its other ports. As you can imagine, for a 10 port hub, this means that 80% of all its output is completely redundant (reaches a destination that simply ignores it)
>>> A switch is a LITTLE more intelligent. A switch will check the unique "MAC" address that the data is destined for, and assuming it has seen the machine that that MAC address belongs to connected to one of its ports, it will pass on received data to that one port only. To add to this, Switches can support "Full-Duplex" networking, which means sending and receiving data at the same time, effectively doubling your network speed under the right conditions.
>>> So what?
So, that's immensely more efficient, and particularly in a high-traffic environment (even online games played no a LAN qualify here) it can have a perceptible positive impact on performance.
>>> What's the FS-105 then?
This is how you get this wonderful technology into your home! This £69 beauty is half the cost of its competition, will auto-detect 10 and 100Mb/s connections and has 5 ports, one of which can be used as an uplink. Even a good hub will cost £50, and for the larger office, the FS-108 (8 port) version can be bought for only £88 (if you can find one in stock anywhere!)
Apologies for the naff rating - but...
One of the major things about a switch is that it adds additional time onto the packet transfer. This is obviously better than a collision on a busy network, as the collision causes a much greater delay, but I just don't agree that they are beneficial on a small home network. My own has around 6 machines sitting on it and there isn't generally much contention. For LAN parties and similar, all the stations are going to be talking to the server anyway, so a swich isn't going to benefit you there either.
shearerm 11.07.2001 17:42
Very good op! Sounds like a useful product for the small office or home. Especially good for gaming by the sound of things.