Computer network components consist of both physical parts as well as software in order to install computer networks. The hardware components include a server, client, hub, switch, bridge, peer, and connecting devices. Software components include the protocols and the Operating System (OS).
Note: If you haven’t read the blog of our CCNA 200-301 series, I highly recommend you do so.
This blog will teach you about these network components or network devices. Make sure that you learn about all the devices carefully.
Top 8 Computer Network Components or Network Devices
The client refers to a person using a network. For example, if you’re reading this blog on your laptop, you’re a client.
Endpoint refers to any device such as a laptop, computer, or smartphone that a client uses. They connect a user/individual to a computer network and they exchange information with a computer network.
Suppose you’re watching YouTube on your computer/mobile/laptop. The video that you’re streaming is hosted by a server, which here will be a YouTuber server.
In other words, a server serves your (client) requests. It stores, sends and receives data.
A server holds the content for us. Different types of servers could be available, such as mail servers, websites, videos, and virtual servers.
Switches are networking devices that allow us to let things connect locally in a building. Note that the switches are not always local but for CCNA, we need to know that the switches are local.
For example, if there is a computer in a building that wants to communicate with another computer in that building, it can do so via a switch.
A switch receives and forwards data to the destination device. A PC is connected via an ethernet cable to the switch. You must know that switches operate at Layer 2 of the TCP/IP or the OSI model.
A router allows a Local Area Network (LAN) to talk to a Wide Area Network (WAN). Therefore, it is a Network Layer Device. As you know, computers/devices are connected to a number of switches. These switches are further connected to a router.
As you can see in the image above, there are LAN and WAN ports in a router. The function of a router is to route data packets on the basis of their IP addresses.
Switches (Layer 3)
These switches are located in Layer 3 of the TCP/IP or the OSI model. Don’t worry, we will talk about the OSI model in detail later on. For now, just know that the OSI model divides all of the network components into layers.
These switches differ from the Layer 2 switches in their functioning. These switches are called Layer 3 switches because they have the capabilities of a router (situated in Layer 3 of the TCP/IP model).
These switches do not need a router to connect to a WAN. They’re directly connected to WAN.
Layer 2 vs. Layer 3 switch:
- A Layer 2 switch is present within a LAN.
- Once traffic crosses a router and enters Layer 3, it is considered that it has entered an interconnected network of LANs, referred to as Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs).
Therefore, a Layer 3 switch is used in the case of inter-VLANs.
From the above image, you can see when a multilayer switch (Layer 3 switch) is used and when a Layer 2 switch is used!
A repeater is a network device that is used to boost up weak signals. Its function is to regenerate weak signals.
For example, if a signal travels for some distance in a TV cable, its intensity starts to drop. Here, a repeater can regenerate the same signal by copying it bit by bit.
Note: A repeater does not amplify the signal, it simply copies and regenerates it.
A hub is a hardware device in networking that is used to connect multiple computers or connections in a network.
- In other words, hub is a multiport repeater.
- It broadcasts the information to all the computers connected to it, i.e., it automatically sends all the information to all the connected devices via ports.
- It usually used to connect computers in a LAN.
- A hub cannot filter data.
- Hub works on the half-duplex transmission mode, i.e., it cannot receive and send information at the same time.
Hub does not provide any security.
A bridge is a networking device that is used to separate Local Area Network (LAN) into a number of sections.
- A bridge receives data/information from the first network and then examines it.
- In the examination process, it notes down the MAC address and the port number of each hub.
- Then it sends the data to the devices in the second network according to their MAC addresses.
Therefore, a bridge is a repeater which can filter the content by reading MAC address of the source and destination.
- We can extend a network by using a bridge.
- It cannot stop the messages once it has broadcasted them.
It’s a Wrap!
That’s all in this blog for now! Learning about networking devices is very important for Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam preparation. Your basics must be clear before you hop on to other advanced topics.
This blog of our CCNA series is the best to start your CCNA learning journey. Stay tuned for upcoming Cisco CCNA 200-301 related blogs!
Next blog: Types of Network Topology Architectures
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