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An Introduction to Computer Network Devices and Components

A computer network comprises various devices that share, transmit, and boost signal, voice, and data. The physical parts of a network are referred to as network devices or components. The number of network devices is growing daily. The essential network devices are individual computers, servers, hubs, switches, bridges, routers, modems, printers, DSL modems and routers, gateways, network interface cards, cabling, and wireless access points. Each of these network devices is described in detail below. To know more, check out

PERSONAL COMPUTERS: A personal computer is typically a desktop, workstation, or laptop computer. Personal computers are the most widely used computer in any organization or for personal use. The most common type of microcomputer is the individual computer.

SERVER: A server is a computer on a network that processes requests and distributes data and resources to other computers on the web. A server stores all necessary information and offers various services such as workstation computer logon access, internet sharing, print sharing, disk space sharing, etc.

There are various types of servers, such as file and print servers, database servers, proxy servers, fax servers, backup servers, etc. For example, a database server stores all data and software associated with a specific database, allowing other network devices to access and process database queries. A file server stores data for any user on the network, whereas a print server manages one or more printers on the web. A network server, on the other hand, is a server that contains network traffic.

NETWORK INTERFACE CARD: Network interface cards are attached to computers or other network devices and connect two computers. Each network card is designed for a specific network type, such as Ethernet, FDDI, Token Ring, or Wireless Networks. The network card operates on the first and second layers of the OSI model, namely the physical layer and the datalink layer specifications. The NIC defines the physical connection methods and control signals that provide the timings of data transfer over the network.

HUBS: A hub is the most basic network device. The hub’s function is broadcasting, meaning that data is forwarded to all ports of a hub regardless of whether the data was intended for the specific systems in the network. Twisted pair (CAT5) cables connect computers in a network to a hub. The hubs are classified into two types. 1. Hactive Hubs 2. Passive Hubs.

SWITCHING HUB: The Switching hub (also known as a “switch”) is the most sophisticated shape of the primary seat. In a primary center, all computers are linked to the corner, and the network speed is defined by the slowest computer network card connected. For example, if a network has 10/100 Mbps cards but only one 10 Mbps card, the system cannot run faster than 10 Mbps. A Switching hub in your network will allow all of the faster connections to maintain their higher speeds while still interacting with the 10Mbps system.

SWITCHES: A switch is a more intelligent device than a hub. A layer two device is a switch. Swith performs the same function as a hub or bridge but has the added benefit of temporarily connecting two computers. The switch matrix or switch fabric is what connects and disconnects ports. Unlike seats, switches only transmit or forward data to the intended computer and do not broadcast data to all other ports.

MODEMS: Modems convert digital data into analog data and vice versa. It serves two primary purposes. First, modulation and demodulation are terms used interchangeably. Modulated data can be transmitted over standard telephone lines. AThemodem modulates the signals at the sending end and demodulates them at the receiving end. Modems are required for various access methods, such as ISDN, DSL, and 56K data modem.

Modems can be internal devices that plug into system expansion slots or external devices that plug into serial or USB ports. For this purpose, PCMCIA cards are used in laptops, and many new laptops have built-in integrated modems. Specialized instruments are intended for use in systems like handheld computers. Rack-mounted modems are used in ISPs where large scaled modems are required.

ROUTERS: Routers connect two logically and physically distinct networks. A Router can determine the data’s destination address and thus provides the best way for the data to continue its journey. The routing software on the router offers this capability. Unlike switches and bridges, which use hardware-configured MAC addresses to determine data destination, routers use logical network addresses such as IP addresses to make this determination.

GATEWAY: A gateway is a program that converts data from one format to another without changing the data itself. A gateway can be a physical device, a computer system, or software. For example, a gateway can be a computer with two NIC cards. A router serves as a gateway, for example, a router that routes data from an IPX network to an IP network. The same applies to translational switches that convert an Ethernet network to a token ring network.

CABLES: Two types of cables are commonly used. 1. 10baseT and 10base2 networks. The 10baseT cable has four pairs. There are two types of 10baseT. UTP (unshielded twisted pair) and STP (shielded twisted pair) are the two types of twisted pairs. STP is the most secure cable protected by silver-coated twisted paper. Thin 10base2 appears to be copper coaxial cabling, commonly used to connect TV sets and VCRs. The most commonly used cables to connect computers are 10baseT/Cat5 cables. It has an RJ45 connector (similar to a telephone connector).

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