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Network Components

Network Components
With the physical medium of transmission of the data in the network, the network
operations need some devices to handle various network functions. They are called
as Network Devices or Network Components. There are various Network
Components like Router, Switch, Hub, Modem, etc.
Let us study all the Network Components in Detail.

1. Network Interface Card (NIC) :One of the most important Network Component is the Network Interface
Card (NIC). Every computer and the servers on the network is required to
have the NIC installed. It is used to provide connectivity between Computer
and the Physical medium. It is installed in the motherboard of the computer.
Most of the computers have the built-in NIC installed with the motherboard.
NIC also handles an important data-conversion function. It also has the
ability of supplying the basic addressing system to get data from one
computer to another on the network. The MAC address is on ROM chip of the
NIC. It is also called as Network Adapter.

2. Modem:The full form of Mo-Dem is Modulator-Demodulator. It is used to modulate

the data at the senders end to prepare for the transmission. And at the
receivers end, the data is demodulated to the original state and the data is
extracted. You must have modem while you connect the computer to the
Internet. Your modem communicates with the modem at your Internet Service
Provider during the Internet connection.
Modem also performs various other functions like digital-to-analog &
encryption/decryption and error correction.

Network Components

3. Repeater:Repeater is a device used to extend the network for a longer distance or

greater area. It receives the signal from the transmitter, amplifies it and then
retransmits it to the receiver. There can be more than one repeater between
the transmitter and the receiver. But, the number of repeaters is not
unlimited. Additional repeaters may create more interference or noise.
Repeater is also called as regenerator. They are also called as Range
Expanders or Cable Extenders.

4. Bridge:Bridge is used to connect the networks. When you want to connect two or
more networks, you can connect the networks using the bridge. It is also used
to split the network into separate segments. It is also used to filter traffic and
to create an efficient network.
Bridge function can also be handled by Software application. In Windows XP,
when you install two or more Network Adapters, a Network Bridge is
automatically created for you. The icon will appear in the Network
Connections Folder.

Network Components

5. Hub:Hub is a Central Connection Point in a network. The hub is the only thing
which connects the computers in the networks. The sender computer
transmits the signals to the hub, the hub then retransmits the signals to all
the computers in the network. Thus, Hub is used in a small network to
connect small number of computers.
There are two types of Hub: Passive Hub and Active Hub. Passive hub
functions like receiving the signals and then retransmitting it. Active hub
functions like regenerating the signals before transmitting.

6. Switch:Switch is the special type of Hub that offers additional facilities. When a
switch receives data packets from the sender, it examines the MAC address
of the destination computer and then retransmits the packet to the
destination computer only. It is because a switch maintains a table which has
all the portss MAC addresses which are connected to the network.
Using a switch, the whole network can be used by all the computers
connected to the network. Thus, big networks uses Switch instead of Hub
where large amount of data is transferred in less time. Switch is usually
integrated into the router.

Network Components

7. Router
Router functions to forward packets across different networks. Router
maintains the routing table. It contains IP addresses of all the computers
connected to the router. There are two types of Routers: Static and Dynamic.
Static Router configures the routing table manually whereas the Dynamic
router automatically gets the routing table by receiving the information from
the computers.
When any data packet is received by router, the router examines the
destination IP address in the routing table and forwards the packet to the
destination computer. Router uses the smallest and the most reliable path to
deliver the packet by using algorithm.

8. Gateway
Gateway is used to connect two completely different networks. It performs
Protocol Translation. It translates the signals from one protocol to another.
Gateway is usually considered as Layer-7 device, whereas it performs
across all the 7 Layers of OSI Model.

Now let us also briefly understand the OSI Model.

OSI Open System Interconnection Model

The full form of OSI is Open System Inter-connection. It is a conceptual model that
categorizes and standardizes the internal functions of the communication system by
dividing into layers. There are total 7 Layers:1.


Network Components
7. Application

Now let us also see that all the Network Components fall into which category.

NIC or Network Adapter: Physical (Layer 1).

Modem: Physical (Layer 1).
Repeater: Physical (Layer 1).
Bridge: Data-Link (Layer 2).
Hub: Physical (Layer 1).
Switch: Data-Link (Layer 2).
Router: Network (Layer 3).
Gateway: All 7 Layers.