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Along with hubs, switches are devices that filter and forward packets between computers on a LAN. Compare with a router, which forwards packets between two or more LANs or other networks.

Switches are faster and higher capacity than hubs, but until recently were much more expensive. Now that costs have come down there is no reason to choose a hub over a switch.

A hub or switch may be found combined with other devices, including Modems, Routers, and wireless APs.

A hub or switch will normally have 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32 RJ-45 jacks to handle Ethernet cables. Many will also have an uplink jack that can be used to connect upwards to another hub or switch, ganging them together to connect even more computers to one another.

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