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Network Hardware and Software

Networking hardware may also be known as network equipment or computer networking devices.
Units which are the last receiver or generate data are called hosts or data terminal equipment and all these terms refer to devices facilitating the use of a computer network. Specifically, they mediate data in a computer network.


Networking hardware includes
  1. gateways,
  2. routers,
  3. network bridges,
  4. switches,
  5. hubs, and
  6. repeaters.
But it also includes hybrid network devices such as multilayer switches, protocol converters, bridge routers, proxy servers, firewalls, network address translators, multiplexers, network interface controllers, wireless network interface controllers, modems, ISDN terminal adapters, line drivers, wireless access points, networking cables and other related hardware.
The most common kind of networking hardware today is a copper-based Ethernet adapter because of its standard inclusion on most modern computer systems. Wireless networking has, however, become increasingly popular, especially for portable and handheld devices. Other hardware prevalent in computer networking includes
  1. data center equipment (such as file servers, database servers and storage areas),
  2. network services (such as DNS, DHCP, email, etc.) as well as
  3. devices which assure content delivery.

Taking a wider view, mobile phones, PDAs and even modern coffee machines may also be considered networking hardware. As technology advances and IP-based networks are integrated into building infrastructure and household utilities, network hardware will become an ambiguous term owing to the vastly increasing number of "network capable" endpoints.

Extranet Client, Internet Client, Modem, Internet Server, Extranet Server, Switch, Router
Extranet Client, Internet Client, Modem, Internet Server, Extranet Server, Switch, Router

  1. A router connects dissimilar networks and forwards data. Routers filter traffic based on protocol-specific software addresses, sources, and destination port numbers. Routers are more flexible than bridges but require more processing power.
  2. A firewall blocks a specific type of data or prevents data from specified sources from entering the network. Thus, malicious entities are barred from infiltrating a network.
  3. A switch connects network segments with high-usage percentages. Switches offer higher performance than bridges or routers and are a lower cost alternative to them. Switches are used to create virtual LANs.