Networking Devices

Some of the important Networking Devices are:

  • Hubs
  • Switches
  • Routers
  • NICS (Network Interface Cards or just plain Network Adapters.)

Networking Devices - Hub Hubs: These are simple network devices which facilitate communication between two or more computers in a network. These devices are generally used in small networks. Hubs follow Broadcasting to transmit data – which means data sent from one computer through a hub is transmitted through all the ports in the Hub. The image below shows a typical 8 port hub – you can connect 8 computers to it using ethernet cables. Hubs generally come with 4, 8, 16 or even 24 ports.


Switch: It is also a device which allows computers to connect to it using ethernet cables, just like the hub. But a Switch is more intelligent than a hub – it uses Unicast to transmit data. But, unlike the Hub where data is sent out to all the ports, a switch forwards data only to the target computer. This is how it is done – a switch maintains a table called Mac Information Table (MIT) which gets generated as soon as the switcNetworking Devices - Switchh is turned on. This MIT acts like an Index table which contains the Port Number, IP address and MAC Address of all the computers connected to the switch. Using a switch, you can monitor the usage of your network and also control access to different parts of your network. Switches allow much faster data transfers than hubs. The image below shows a typical 24 port switch. A switch might look similar to a hub – but functionally, it is very different and much more advanced, so don’t get confused.

Routers: These are devices that connect two different networks and Routing is nothing but the process of communication between different networks. For example, using a Router, you can connect a Class A Network with a Class C network. A Router can be wired or wireless.


Networking Devices - Router


NICs (Network Interface Cards): A NIC is by far, the most important Networking Device which allows your computer to physically connect to a Network. Most computer motherboards today, come with built-in NICs. But you can also buy a NIC which you can fix in one of the PCI slots of your computer’s motherboard.

Networking Devices - NIC (Network Interface Card)