What is: Basic Hardware Components (Devices) of Computer Network

What is: Basic Hardware Components (Devices) of Computer Network

What is Network Components

Definition – Network Components is also called the “Network Device” or “Network Equipment” or “Computer Networking Devices” which are used to need make communication and interaction between multiple computers over network.

Types of Network Components

Components of computer network are categories into 4 different types of segments such as

Diagram of Network Components 


  • Network Hardware Components
  • Network Software Components 
  • Network Protocol Components 
  • Network Connection Medium Components

Network Hardware Components

Hardware Components are known as “Network Hardware Devices” that are linked each other through wire or wireless connection medium.

Major Types of Network Devices

Network Interface Card

Network Interface Card (NIC) is  hardware component that is used to link multiple computers with each other over the network. NIC performs some activates such as sending and receiving data as well as controlling data flow between linked all terminals over the network. NIC is capable to send and receive data on (10,100 to 1000 Mb/s) transfer rate. All NIC contain unique id (MAC address) that is programmed on chip, and it is embedded on the network interface card.

NIC has two variant such as –

  1. Wired NIC – Cables and connectors are connected to Wired NIC, which is embedded inside the motherboard.
  2. Wireless NIC – Wireless NIC has small type antenna, it helps to make connection on the wireless network.


Hub is also a hardware component of computer network that helps to split large network connections into small multiple network terminals. Hub works as distribution point. When computes try to request for some piece of data from network (wired or wireless), then it has first priority to send request to Hub via cable. Hub will transmit those requests over the network, and all linked terminal will determine that those requests are related to them or not. If not related then all requests will be trashed.


Modem stands for “Modulator–Demodulator“. Main objective of using of Modem in computer network is to move data from one computer terminal to another computer terminal via telephone line system.

Types of modem are:

Ethernet modem – It is connected into NIC in the computer system.

Wireless modem – Wireless modem contains small antenna, and it is connected with computer terminal through wireless network.


Switches are used in the wired network such as Ethernet network. Switch is a small hardware component that helps to receive data from other different input ports and send this got data to appropriate output port, and finally destination terminal obtains data over the network.

Here, some types of switches

Unmanaged switches – These switches are used in the small area such as home network.

Managed switches – These switches are used in medium size of area such as small and large organizations. There are two types such as Smart switches and Enterprise managed switches.

Ethernet switches – These types of switches are mostly used to decrease network congestion, and it helps to make connection with LAN points.

PoE switches – PoE switches stands for “Power over Ethernet”, and they deliver to great flexibility by cabling process.


Router performs all functions on the third layer of OSI model. Router helps to transfer data packet in between multiple point over the network. Router checks the destination IP (Internet Protocol) address of received data packet, and it transfers those data packets on best path according of headers and forwarding tables.

Types of Router are –

  • Wireless Router
  • Wired Router
  • Brouter
  • Core router
  • Virtual Router
  • Edge router
  • Broadband routers


Bridges is very important hardware device of computer network because it helps to make interconnection along with multiple bridge network on the similar protocol. Bridges are also called of “Layer 2 switches”.

Bridges performs all functions on the data link layer of the ISO model, and it helps to keep the MAC (media access control) address table. 

There are three types of bridge, such as – 

  • Transparent bridge
  • Translational bridge
  • Source-route bridge


Repeater performs all activates on the physical layer of the OSI model. It is very helpful to regain or replicate analog or digital signals, which are distorted by transmission loss. So it is known as “Signal Booster”.

Repeater is capable to relay messages between multiple sub networks in the data network.

Repeater has some variants, such as –

  • Analog/Digital Repeaters
  • Wired/Wireless Repeaters
  • Local/Remote Repeaters


Gateway is a special type of hardware component of the network, and it performs activities like “Gate” between two networks. Gateways provide protection like firewalls from unwanted traffic because it is placed at the edge of the network system so all data get in and out in the network through Gateways.

Gateway works on the top layers of OSI model such as transport, session, presentation, and application layers. But, it is useless to make communication between two same network protocols.

Examples of Gateway are –

  • IBM AS400 microcomputer
  • PC LAN

Types are

  • Unidirectional Gateways – It has not permission to flow data only one direction.
  • Bidirectional Gateways – It has permission to flow data both side.


Client is edge point of computers which are obtained the requests and received services from server side, and it uses computer network resources such as printer, scanner, plotter, and more.


Server is high level computer which are get high configuration. It has responsibility to handle all resources of the entire network system. On the server, a special type of operating system is installed, it is known as network operating system.

Server has some variants such as –

Software Components in Computer Network

Network software is a superior element that provides instructions to all network components for performing their tasks together.

Network Software Components are –

Networking Operating System

Networking Operating System is designed especially to network system. It is installed on the server then it delivers to some facilitate to workstations on the network such as share files, database, applications, fax machine, plotters, printers etc.

Protocol Suite

Protocol is set of rules or some guideline followed by every node of network for data communication. Protocol Suite is group of some related protocols which are especially designed for computer networks.

Two Protocol Suites are –

OSI Model – OSI stands for Open System interconnections, and it decides that how to flow data in between the multiple computers with the help of these seven layers such as  Physical, Data Link, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation and Application.

TCP/IP Model – TCP/IP stands for “Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol“, and it delivers some instructions that how to make a connection with any specific computer over the network and how to get transmission between all computers nodes.

Here, Some Name of Software Components are –

  • Novell® Netware 4.1 and Microsoft Windows® NT are Network Operating System for server side.
  • Novell® Netware 4.1 client and Microsoft Windows® 95 are Network Operating System for client side.
  • Novell® IPX is network protocol software.
  • Application softwares are web browser, email etc.
  • Network Interface Card drivers

Protocol in Computer Network

Network protocols are groups of specified rules that decide how to swap data between in the multiple computers with easy, reliable and trustworthy way. Main objective of using of protocols are to spread and receive data over a network.

Here, Some Common Protocols are –

  • TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
  • PPP (Point to Point Protocol)
  • SSH (Secure Shell)
  • TELNET (TELecommunication NETwork)
  • SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)

Connection Medium in Computer Network

Connection medium is the appropriate way over which electrical signal flows as transfer from one terminal to another terminal over the network.

Connection medium has some variants such as –

Twisted-Pair wire

Twisted-Pair wire is mostly used in the telephone an Ethernet cabling, and it is divided into some category such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5E, 6 and 7. It has two type like as unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and shielded twisted pair (STP).

Coaxial Cable

Coaxial Cable is same to TV installation cable, and it delivers to high data transmission speed. So it is more expensive.

There are two type of coaxial cable

  • Thin (Thinnet)
  • Thick (Thicknet)

Fiber-optic Cable

Fiber optic cable provides the ultra transmission data speed via light beams in the glass bound fiber. So its price is higher to other cable.

Wireless Medium

Wireless medium is more popular in small offices and home usage such as WIFI. In WIFI, radio signals get the transmission in the air, and multiple terminals (computer, laptop, smart phone, etc) make connection through WIFI signals then can be shared their data with each other.

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