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As with the Hub, a Switch offers the option of (physically) connecting several Ethernet network subscribers in star form.
Switches combine the functionality of a Hub with that of a Bridge. A Switch “learns” the Ethernet address of the network subscriber connected to a Switch port and only passes on the data packets that are addressed to this subscriber. Broadcast messages are an exception; these are passed on to all Switch ports. Here the function of the Switch differs from that of a Bridge, which generally does not pass on Broadcast messages.
As well as Switches for 100BaseT, there are also Autosensing Switches. These automatically detect whether the connected end device is operating at 10 or 100 MBit/s. Autosensing Switches can be used to incorporate older 10BaseT devices into new 100BaseT networks without problem.



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