Networking devices are the machines that are responsible for connecting computer and other electronic peripheral devices for sharing files or resources such as printer, fax machines and more, based on fixed protocols. Based on the type of network, each one employs different devices to provide connectivity. Following is a list of some networking devices that people commonly use in home and office networks. Professionals dealing in computer repair and providing remote support are the right people to decide on what devices you need on your network for it to be fast and foolproof.

Networking Devices: Types and Functions

NIC

network interface card
NIC stands for network interface card and it is a hardware card in PC. These cards enable PCs to connect with the network. They need network adapter driver support to agree with the decided protocols and function in a network.

HUB

HUB
Hub is a central device in a wired network used to connect a number of computers and other peripherals. It is simply a connecting device and provides no intelligence support. Therefore, it cannot be used as a firewall on the network. Hubs are of two types; active and passive. Active hubs strengthen the incoming signal before retransmitting them while passive hubs don’t amplify but simply pass on the data.

Switch

Switch
A switch is an intelligent counterpart of hub. It transfers data with a MAC address for each frame. This way the data is delivered only to the intended computer making way for safe data transfer and low network congestion.

Bridges

Bridges
Bridges connect two computer networks with each other. They make for a bigger network, wherein each computer on either sides can communicate with each other. They improve network efficiency because they divide the network into small segments so that every computer has ample resources to communicate in a dedicated manner.

Router

Router
Routers are smart bridges that deal in packet level delivery. These devices work between networks on their network layer to transfer data using IP addresses. Routers make for efficient intra-network data transfer, without traffic congestion while ensuring complete data safety. They have additional capabilities of data filtering and packet routing and hence, they are costlier than bridges.

Brouter

Brouter
Brouters are complicated devices that combine the technologies of both a bridge and a router. When they receive a data transfer request, first thing they do is determine whether the data has to be bridged or routed and then transfer it. This process takes time and therefore, data transfer using brouters is slower as compared to a dedicated bridge or a router. Moreover, their complexity adds to their price that makes them less popular among network experts.

Gateways

Gateways
Gateways are also known as protocol converters and are used to connect two networks working on different protocols. They are programmed to switch protocols once they receive data and repackage it according to the receiver network and deliver it on the attached IP address.

CSU/DSU

CSU/DSU
CSU/DSU has a double role to play in a network. They stand for Channel service unit and Data service unit respectively and are responsible to connect a LAN to a WAN. CSU part of the device takes care of the data coming from the LAN and converts it to make it compatible with the protocol being used on the WAN, before transmission.
While, DSU part takes care of the data travelling from the WAN to the LAN. It is sophisticated than CSU in terms of providing handshaking and error correction. It also converts the data coming from the WAN to LAN protocol.

ISDN Adaptor

ISDN Adaptor
ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and is used to communicate data over standard telephone systems. This system can handle data in voice, data and audio format and works on digital telephone network. They work by simply communicating the content and have no capabilities for modulating or demodulating the data being transferred.

Modem

Modem
Modem word has been derived from modulation and demodulation and that is what this device manages for a computer network. It allows networks to communicate using a phone line and converts analog signals to digital and conversely, for a complete communication to take place.
It is a traditional device and with low speed processing because of the data conversion it has to take up before transfer. Modem can be both internal as well as external and connect to a phone line using RJ-11 connectors.

Firewall

Firewall
A firewall is the protector of the network. It can be a hardware or a software and is responsible for protecting the computers and network from unwanted traffic and access. It protects computers from virus and other malwares while on network it works tirelessly to thwart hacking attacks and circulation of unwarranted information.

Proxy

Proxy
Proxy servers are installed to make networks safe from outside attacks. They stand in between the World Wide Web and the internal network and filter every data packet before it passes to either sides. It acts as a physical firewall that becomes the first stop for all the incoming data.

Conclusion
Computer networks are implicit to our functioning. There are many devices that work as team to provide us the connectivity we require while also providing security against malpractices. Network devices can be used in various combinations to device dedicated network systems based on the traffic of the set up as well as the connectivity speed required. An expert in computer repair and remote support can lay down a plan to use them efficiently.