Networking Q&A



Why can’t I use the hub I already have?
Hubs are not designed to work on high speed business networks involving database connectivity because they are not full duplex. See below for an explanation of that term. If you were to use the software with a hub you would definitely experience data losses resulting in the corruption of the Microsoft Jet database. The system would go down and you would have to repair the database. Once back online you would experience more crashes whenever traffic is high.



Why can’t I use the switch I already have?
Switches sold in retail outlets like CompUSA, Wal-Mart, Office Depot, Staples and Office Max are inexpensive switches designed for use in the home or home office, many for internet connection sharing or routing. These switches may not hold up under the grueling multi-user activity being generated by a point-of-sale product. You can bet that the point-of-sale system in the retail store mentioned above is not being managed by a networking switch from their store inventory. Likely they have a professional grade switch like we recommend. The Microsoft Jet database is a file based database and is subject to corruption due to data losses from poor network response. We do not recommend consumer grade switches from Netgear, Linksys and other store brands many of the stores mentioned carry.


What are the differences between a “SWITCH” and a “HUB”?

10/100 Ethernet Hub (NOT SUPPORTED)


A 10/100 mbps is a good choice these days for basic home networks.  This kind of hub will allow you to hook up 10Mbps and 100Mbps devices and network cards on the same network.  Furthermore, even if the devices communicate at different speeds, the hub will allow them to talk.  Now that the prices have come down to under $50.00, the versatility and speed of these hubs can not be beat.


10/100 Ethernet Hubs are only half duplex - each client can only send OR receive data at a particular time.  To take full advantage of your 10/100 Ethernet cards, look into an Ethernet Switch.  A switch can operate at full duplex allowing your computers to send and receive at the same time.






A 10/100 Ethernet switch can be considered a faster version of a 10/100 Ethernet hub.  Recently switches have come down so far is price that they are readily accessible to consumers.   


Ethernet switches allow your Ethernet cards to operate in Full Duplex mode instead of Half Duplex.  Full Duplex means that you can be sending and receiving data at the same time. Switches also route traffic directly between ports instead of broadcasting traffic across all ports.  This basically means that each port on a switch gets dedicated bandwidth instead of shared bandwidth.  When transferring large files between multiple computers, this can make a big difference in how well your lan operates.


Consumer level switches now run only about 20% more than hubs making them a great deal for the speed.  Switches are also being incorporated into many of the popular DSL / Cable modem routers being manufactured.  I would not be surprised to see some network gear manufacturers stop producing consumer level hubs in the next year or so.


Recommendations:(models available as of 6/12/2003)

24 Port HP Procurve Switch 2124

8 Port HP Procurve Switch 408

24 Port Dell Powerconnect 2024

8 Port Dell Powerconnect 2508



Unmanaged vs. Managed


Manages hubs are usually not for the home.  They have special networking computers built into them that do all sorts of things you will probably never need in your home or small office environment.  They are also very expensive.


Unmanaged hubs and switches are simple devices that let your Ethernet devices talk to each other.