network components consist of 2 parts - the items that are to be
connected and the equipment that connects them
equipment to be networked are those components that you want to be able
to communicate with each other or hardware that you want to share
network is defined as a group of interconnected computers but it really
is more than that. The connected computers communicate with each other
and share resources on the network. Common resources include printers,
disk storage, databases and access to other networks such as the
internet. The diagram below illustrates some typical components.
Hardware that connects the computers and
is needed to carry the electronic signals between your computers and
whatever they connect to. You can use a wired or wireless connection.
Network cable that looks like thick telephone wire can be used to carry
the data packets to and from your computer. These packets can also be
transmitted like radio signals from a wireless transmitter to a
The following devices connect the members of the
- network hub
- network switch
- broadband modem
- computer network router
- nic card
1. Network Hub
- The hub or network hub connects computers and devices and sends
messages and data from any one device to all the others. If the desktop
computer wants to send data to the lapop and it sends a message to the
laptop through the hub, the message will get sent by the hub to all the
computers and devices on the network. They need to do work to figure
out that the message is not for them. The message also uses up
bandwidth (room) on the network wires or wireless radio waves and
limits how much communication can go on. Hubs are not used often these
Network Switch - The switch connects the computer network
components but it is smart about it. It knows the address of each item
and so when the desktop computer wants to talk to the laptop, it only
sends the message to the laptop and nothing else. In order to have a
small home network that just connects the local equipment all that is
really needed is a switch and network cable or the switch can transmit
wireless information that is received by wireless receivers that each
of the network devices have.
3. Computer Network Router -
A router is a device that connects
2 networks. If you happened to have 2 LANs (local area networks) in
your home or office and wanted to connect them, the router is the
device that you would need. For more information about routers see What
does a router do?.
The network that most home networks connect to is
the world's biggest WAN (wide area network), the Internet.
4. Router/Switch - In order to let all
the computers on
the local network communicate with each other and the Internet, most
routers sold today include a switch. The router part connects your
network to the Internet. The switch part lets the computers talk to
each other and to the internet.
5. Broadband Modem - Most everyone wants
to connect to
the internet. A broadband modem is used to take a high speed Internet
connection provided by an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and convert
the data into a form that your local network can use. The high speed
connection can be DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) from a phone company or
cable from a cable television provider.
In order to be reached on the Internet, your computer needs a
unique address on the internet. Your ISP will provide this to you as
part of your Internet connection package. This address will generally
not be fixed which means that they may change your address from time to
time. For the vast majority of users, this makes no difference.
you have only one computer and want to connect to the Internet, you
strictly speaking don't need a router. You can plug the network cable
from the modem directly into the network connection of your computer.
However, you are much better off connecting the modem to a router. The
ip address your ISP provides will be assigned to the router. The router
will assign a hidden addres (non routable) to each of the computers on
the network. This is strong protection against hackers since they scan
ip addresses for computers that are open to being attacked. The router
is not a general purpose computer and will not be visible to them.
6. NIC card
- In order to use your phone service you need to have a phone.
Similarly to be able to talk on the network a computer or printer needs
a NIC (network interface card) card (sort of redundant :-)) otherwise
known as a network adapter. They come in 2 varieties, wired or
wireless. Most modern desktop computers come with a wired nic and
laptops come with both a wired and a wireless nic.
computer doesn't have a built in nic card, you can get a USB based
adapter that you can plug into the USB port of your computer. This is
portable and can be moved from computer to computer. You can get a
wireless lan USB adapter or a wired one.
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