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CompTIA Network+ N10-006

Authorized Cert Guide

Chapter 3
Network Components

Foundation Topics
Network Infrastructure Devices
Specialized Network Devices
Virtual Network Devices
Voice over IP Protocols and Components

Identifying Network Components

What are the characteristics of various media types?
What is the role of a given network infrastructure component?
What features are provided by specialized network devices?
How are virtualization technologies impacting traditional corporate
data center designs?
What are some of the primary protocols and hardware components
found in a Voice over IP (VoIP) network?

Network media breaks down into three categories:

Fiber optic

Each of these categories is divided into subcategories,

each with different specifications and uses.

Copper cabling has been used for communication since the
mid-1800s, when the telegraph became widely used.
There are three categories of copper cabling:

Unshielded twisted-pair
Shielded twisted-pair

Each also has subcategories with different specifications

and uses.

Coaxial Cable
Coaxial Cable (or coax for short) is composed of two

The inner, insulated conductor or center wire, passes

the data.

The outer, braided metal shield, helps protect the data.

Coaxial Cable types

The three of the most common types of coaxial cables are
as follows:

RG-6: Commonly used by local cable companies to

connect individual homes.

RG-58: This type of coaxial cable was popular with early

10BASE2 Ethernet networks.

RG-59: Typically used to carry composite video between

two nearby devices (for example, cable box to TV)

Coaxial Cable Connectors

The two common connector types used with coax are
shown here.

Twisted-Pair Cabling
The most popular physical LAN media type is twisted-pair
In each cable, there are eight individually insulated strands
of copper wire. Each pair of wire is twisted together to
reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI).
There are two categories of twisted-pair:
Unshielded twisted-pair (UTP)
Shielded twisted-pair (STP)

Unshielded Twisted-Pair
Category 6 cable
Four pairs of insulated
copper wires
Some resistance to EMI

Shielded Twisted-Pair
Category 7 cable.
Four pairs of insulated
copper wires.
Each pair is wrapped in
foil. All four pairs are
wrapped in wire mesh.
Very resistant to EMI.

Twisted-Pair Categories



Cat 3

10 Mbps

100 meters

Cat 5

100 Mbps

100 meters

Cat 5e

1 Gbps

100 meters

Cat 6

1 Gbps

100 meters

Cat 6a

10 Gbps

100 meters

Cat 7

10 Gbps

100 meters

Twisted-Pair Connectors: RJ-45

8-pin connector
Used on almost all
Ethernet networks

Twisted-Pair Connectors: RJ-11

4-pin connector
Used on most home
telephone networks

Twisted-Pair Connectors: DB-9

Also known as RS-232
9-pin connector
Commonly used to
connect the serial port
on a computer to a
networking device

Fiber-Optic Cabling
Uses light from an LED or laser to transmit information
through a glass fiber.
Two categories of fiber-optic cabling are as follows:

Multimode fiber
Single-mode fiber

Multimode Fiber (MMF)

Core size: 62.5 microns
Common uses:

Routers to switches
Switches to switches
Servers to switches

Multimode Fiber (MMF)

Light propagation over multimode fiber-optic cable

Single-Mode Fiber (SMF)

Core size: 10 microns
Common uses:

Routers to switches
Switches to switches

Single-Mode Fiber (SMF)

Light propagation over over single-mode fiber-optic cable

Fiber-Optic Connectors

SC Subscriber Connector

LC - Lucent connector

ST Straight Tip Connector

MTRJ Mechanical TransferRegistered Jack

Fiber-Optic Compared to Copper

Advantages Of
Fiber-Optic Cabling

Higher bandwidth
Longer distances
Immune to EMI
Better security

Advantages of
Copper Cabling

Less expensive
Easy to install
Inexpensive tools

Cable Distribution
Entrance facilities
MDF (main distribution frame)
Cross-connect facilities
IDF (intermediate distribution frame)
Backbone wiring
Telecommunications closet
Horizontal wiring
Work area

Cable Distribution

TIA/EIA structured cabling in a building

Cable Distribution

66-block patch panel

110-block patch panel

Cable Distribution

A typical UTP cabling installation

Wireless Technologies
All devices connected to the same AP are considered to be
on the same shared network segment.

Network Infrastructure Devices

There are two primary categories of network infrastructure


To understand how switches work, it is important to learn

how they evolved from two older technologies: hubs and

Hubs operated at Layer 1 of the OSI model and were used
to connect multiple network devices.
They are sometimes called multiport repeaters.
Three basic types of Ethernet hubs are as follows:
Passive hub
Active hub
Smart hub
Hubs are essentially obsolete today. They have been
replaced by switches in modern LANs.


One collision domain

One broadcast domain

Join two or more LAN segments.
Each LAN segment becomes a separate collision domain.
Bridges analyze source MAC addresses in frames entering
the bridge and populate an internal MAC address table
based on those addresses.
Bridges make intelligent forwarding decisions based on the
destination MAC address in the frame.


Two collision domains

One broadcast domain

Switches are essentially a multiport bridge. They are
usually considered a Layer 2 device.
They learn MAC addresses and make forwarding decisions
based on that information.
Switches analyze source MAC addresses in frames
entering the switch and populate an internal MAC
address table based on those addresses.
Each port represents a collision domain. All ports belong to
the same broadcast domain.


Four collision domains

One broadcast domain

Routers are Layer 3 devices. They make forwarding
decisions based on logical network address information,
usually IP addresses.
Each port on a router is a separate collision domain and a
separate broadcast domain.
Routers are typically more feature rich and support a
broader range of interface types.


Eight collision domains

Two broadcast domains

Multilayer Switches
Multilayer switches combine features of Layer 2 switches
and Layer 3 routers.
They can make decisions based on both MAC addresses
and IP addresses.
If configured with VLANs (which are discussed in Chapter
4), each port on a multilayer switch can be a collision
domain and a broadcast domain.

Multilayer Switches
Multilayer switch
configured with virtual
Four collision domains
Four broadcast domains

Infrastructure Devices Summary

Device Type

Number of
Collision Domains

Number of
OSI Layer of
Broadcast Domains Operation



1 per port


1 per port


1 per port

1 per port



1 per port

1 per port


Specialized Network Devices

There is more to a network than just routers, switches,
and PCs. Other devices serve specific functions to
improve network usability, performance, and security.
These devices include the following:
VPN concentrators
DNS servers
DHCP servers
Proxy servers
Content engines and switches

VPN Concentrators
Companies with locations across multiple sites require
secure communications between those sites.
A virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure, virtual
tunnel network over an untrusted network, like the
One of the devices that can terminate VPN tunnels is a
VPN concentrator, although firewalls typically perform
this function now.
There is more about VPNs in Chapter 12.

VPN Concentrators
Branch A

Branch B






Branch C

A firewall is primarily a network security appliance. It
stands guard at the entrance to your network,
protecting it from malicious Internet traffic.
Firewalls can be software or hardware.


DNS Servers
Computers and the internet use numbers not names, but
people recall names better than numbers.
A Domain Name System (DNS) server performs the task
of taking a domain name, like, and
resolving that name into an IP address that is
understood on the network.
This is similar to the contact list on your phone. You rarely
dial your friends phone numbers. Instead, you just click
their name to call them.

DNS Servers

DNS Hierarchy

DHCP Servers
Initially, clients on networks needed IP addresses manually
configured (or statically assigned) to communicate. This
was a hassle and also led to configuration errors.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
automates the process so the vast majority of devices
on a network receive an IP address automatically.
The key elements assigned through DHCP include the
IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, and
DNS server.

DHCP Servers

Proxy Servers
A proxy server is a device that makes a request on behalf
of a client.
Clients are configured to forward their packets, which are
seemingly destined for the Internet, to a proxy server.
The proxy server evaluates the request; if it has a copy of
the information the client is seeking, it replies with the
cached copy.
If the requested page is not in the cache, the server
forwards the request to the Internet.

Proxy Servers

Content Engines and Switches

Some networks do not use proxy servers. Instead, they
use a dedicated appliance to perform this content
These appliances are commonly referred to as caching
engines or content engines.
Content switches are also known as load balancers,
distributing incoming requests across the various servers
in the server farm.

Content Engines

Content Switches

Virtual Servers
Instead of having several separate physical servers,
virtualization allows multiple virtual instances of
servers to exist on a single powerful server.
A single server can have multiple Microsoft Windows
virtual servers running simultaneously with Linux virtual

Virtual Servers

VoIP Protocols and Components

A Voice over IP (VoIP) network digitizes voice traffic so
that it can be treated like other data on the network.
A VoIP network can save a company money and provide
enhanced services over a traditional PBX solution.

VoIP Protocols and Components

OSI Reference Model

Seven layers
Assists in understanding network processes

TCP/IP Stack

Four layers
Similar purpose as OSI model

Port Numbers and Assignments

Each application layer protocol has a different port

Different ranges have different purposes.


Fiber optic

Network Infrastructure Devices


Specialized Network Devices

VPN concentrators
DNS servers
DHCP servers
Proxy servers
Content engines and switches

Virtual Network Devices

Virtual servers

Voice over IP Protocols and Components