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What are basic hardware components of networks? – Part 1

The quality, speed, efficiency etc. of a network all depend to a large extent on its basic hardware components. The hardware components used in networking are called networking equipment or networking hardware. This hardware typically refers to the devices that in a way facilitate the use of an information network. The basic hardware components include the following:
– Gateways
– Routers
– Network bridges
– Repeaters
– Switches
– Hubs
Also today, hybrid network hardware components are available which include the following:
– Multilayer switches
– Protocol converters
– Proxy servers
– Bridge routers
– Network address translators
– Firewalls
– Multiplexers
– Network interface controllers
– Wireless network interface controllers
– Modems
– ISDN terminal adapters
– Line drivers
– Wireless access points
– Networking cables

About Network Hardware Components

1. Another name for the network hardware components is the computer networking devices.
2. These devices can be defined as the devices that serve the purpose of mediating data in an information network.
3. So, they are also called by two other names: inter-working unit (IWU) and intermediate systems (IS).
4. In these data terminal equipment or the host are the units that either generate data or are the last one to receive data.
5. The copper based Ethernet adapters are these days turning out to be the most common kind of hardware component of network.
6. Wireless networking has advanced like anything especially in the case of handheld and portable devices.
7. Another most prevalent hardware component is the data center equipment, network services and content delivery.
8. Data center equipment includes data base servers, file servers, storage areas and so on. DNS, e – mail, DHCP etc. are all examples of network services.
9. There are other diverse devices that can be considered as the basic networking hardware components.
10.Modern coffee machines, mobile phones and PDAs are some examples of them.
11.With the growth of the network, the technology also grows, more and more networks find integration in to the infrastructure of the buildings thus making an ambiguous statement regarding the increase in the number of endpoints capable of networking.

About Gateway
– Gateway is the component that sits at a node in the network to facilitate interfacing with other networks using different protocols.
– This device is known to work on OSI layers ranging from 4 to 7.

About Router
– Router is a more special component whose purpose is to determine the next point in the network where the data packet has to be forwarded so that it reaches its destination.
– It does not have ability to interface between the protocols.
– Works up on OSI layer 3.

About Switch
– Switch is a traffic allocating device.
– It actually splits network traffic sending it to various destinations rather than sending it to all the systems located on the network.
– Working OSI layer is 2.

About Bridge
– The device that serves the purpose of connecting multiple network segments is called a bridge.
– It connects along a layer called the data link layer.
– Its OSI layer is same as that of the switch.

About Hub
– Multiple Ethernet segments are connected via a hub so that they can act as a single segment.
– So when a hub is used, the same broadcast domain and collision domain is used by every device connected to it.
– Therefore, at a time only one system connected to hub can make a transmission.
– Hub offers a basic level 1 OSI model connection based up on the network topology that is being used.
– The bandwidth here is shared by all the objects while working up on OSI layer 1.
– This is completely different from a switch connects only individual nodes.

About Repeater
– During transmission, a device is required that can regenerate and amplify the digital signals so that they do not get attenuated.
– This purpose is served by a device called repeater.
– It amplifies or regenerates the signal while sending it forward.

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