Hub and Switch Cabling

In addition to acting as a connection point for network devices, hubs and switches can also be connected to create larger networks. This connection can be achieved through standard ports with a special cable or by using special ports with a standard cable.

The ports on a hub to which computer systems are attached are called Medium Dependent Interface-Crossed (MDI-X). The crossed designation is derived from the fact that two of the wires within the connection are crossed so that the send signal wire on one device becomes the receive signal of the other. Because the ports are crossed internally, a standard or straight-through cable can be used to connect devices.

Another type of port, called a Medium Dependent Interface (MDI) port, is often included on a hub or switch to facilitate the connection of two switches or hubs. Because the hubs or switches are designed to see each other as simply an extension of the network, there is no need for the signal to be crossed. If a hub or switch does not have an MDI port, hubs or switches can be connected by using a crossover cable between two MDI-X ports. The crossover cable serves to uncross the internal crossing. You can see diagrams of the cable pinouts for both a straight-through and crossover cable in Figures 2 and 3, respectively.

The pinouts for a straight-through cable

Figure 2

The pinouts for a crossover cable

Figure 3