Networking Guide

Introduction The OSI Reference Model
Physical Media Cat 5 Wiring Scheme
Network Components Network Topologies
Network Architectures Network Types

Networking Guide : Network Components

Besides a physical medium, a network operation needs devices that are designed to handle certain network functions. The devices are often called networking devices or equipment and specifically referred to as network components in this guide. Each network component has a name that is related to its functions. For example, a network adapter works to "adapt" a computer message that is going to be sent to a network, to a format that is defined by the network.

Network Components

Picture: Networking Hardware

A network component's functions are not necessarily handled by a specific device. If you browse a networking products catalog, you will find that many products combine several networking components in a device. For example: a router that has a built-in switch, a residential gateway that includes a broadband modem, etc. So, be sure to check the product specification before buying to avoid duplication. You must also check interfaces that are supported by a product. They must be compatible with the ports available in your computers or other devices.

A network component's functions may also be performed by a software application. For example, Windows XP provides built-in support for Network Bridging that handle a bridge's functions in a home network with mixed media. There are also built-in or add-on software applications that handle modem, router, or gateway functions. However, the software-only alternative is mostly suitable for small networks.

page 2 : Network Adapter
page 3 : Modem
page 4 : Repeater and Bridge
page 5 : Hub and Switch
page 6 : Wireless Access Point
page 7 : Router
page 8 : Residential Gateway and Gateway
page 9 : Summary

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