General Networking/Lan/Wan/USB Hubs and Switches.


Ethernet Hub
Ethernet Hub  
Ethernet Switch
Ethernet Switch  
QUESTION: Dear Justin‎‎

Can there be advantages in manufacturing Ethernet based USB Switches and Hubs similar to Ethernet 10/100 MBPS, Gigabit Ethernet switches for sharing computers and peripherals ?.

For example :

24 port Ethernet Switch / Hub having USB Ports on the Device, the Data transfer will be through USB Cables connected from USB Ports
to computers (servers,laptops,workstations,peripherals etc) having USB LAN controllers.

i.e. Comparing data transfer speeds offered by 10/100 MBPS Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet v/s USB technology.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Ethernet Hubs are a thing of the past, so I wouldn't mess around with those. Switches have replaced hubs for many reasons. The main being that a hub is limited in sending only 1 packet of data at a time and collisions occur because of this. Switches can maintain multiple connections at once and treat them as truly separate connections.

Also, USB cannot reach the distances of Cat5e or Cat6 cable. USB doesn't technically support ethernet/TCP/IP connectivity. When you hook a cable modem up via USB for example, it's installing itself on the computer in a similar way that a network card  would be installed. The modem takes care of the TCP/IP connections and communicates that information over USB to the network stack on your computer.

A lot of the USB speeds are somewhat theoretical, as well. Different manufacturers vary, and there are bottolenecks like the drive itself, CPU, etc.

So, although the throughput of USB is rated higher, for the best networking results, Cat6 with a 1Gbps switch is the best bet. You can get 10Gbps network adapters if you're willing to spend the money.

And as a side note, you'll still be limited by your Internet connection. If you have a 50Mbps connection, then 100Mbps would still be sufficient for transfers over the Internet. You're really only helping for internal transfers, and if you're in a business, doing all of this over USB would be a nightmare to get connectivity everywhere, manage and keep reliable.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Justin

Thank you.‎

As you mention, "USB doesn't technically support ethernet/TCP/IP connectivity."

If the USB 3.0 Protocol is modified to support TCP/IP protocol in future,
Will/Can it replace Ethernet TCP/IP in future ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

No, I do not see this ever happening.

USB is a serial connection, meaning data can only be sent in one direction at a time. It also does not go the distance of what Cat5e or Cat6 cable can go.

USB was designed for personal devices, such as storage devices and device control where data is typically flowing in one direction. For instance, a toy rocket where you just need to tell it to spin around and launch the rocket.

The transfer speeds of USB are not always a guarantee to be the max rate because of many of these reasons.

Wireless is really the networking medium of the future. The newest specifications of IEEE802.11 ac allow for 1 Gigabit/second speeds which is about that of USB 3 anyway (when you take the usable throughput).

Basically, USB wasn't designed for networking, it was designed for personal devices to connect locally to a computer. Cat5e, Cat6, Fiber, and wireless are designed for networking computers any distance away from each other together and allows communication without using specific drivers like USB devices require.

I hope this helps answer your question.  

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Justin W.


I can answer questions on DHCP, security, DNS, IPv4, Sub-netting/VLANS, and more.


I have been working in IT for almost 10 years, all years spent in some sort of support role, but the past two years I've been in an IT Administration position, overseeing Windows Servers, VMware vSphere running on a Cisco UCS platform with Cisco networking devices

I have a BAS with dual-major from Davenport University, in Grand Rapids, MI. My majors were Computer Networking and Network Security.

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I am Network+ certified.

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