NETWORK DEVICES NETWORK DEVICES are various hardware devices which are used to connect computers and printers to a network. Examples: • • • • • • • Hub Switch Bridge Repeater NIC card Router Gateway For any machine to connect to a network you first need a Network interface card (NIC)or Wi-Fi Card. 1. Network Interface Card: It is a physical and data link layer device used by computers to connect and communicate with other devices on the LAN. Every NIC is assigned a MAC address so that it can be easily identified on the network . 2. Wi-Fi Card: Wi-Fi Card is used to connect any device to local network wirelessly. 3. Wireless Access point: This is the physical Area of the network which provides internet access through Wi-Fi called WiFi hotspot or Wi-Fi access point. To connect to other computers on a network a HUB, ROUTER and SWITCH are needed. 4. Hub: Hub is a physical layer device, which has multiple ports that are used to connect multiple computers or portions of a LAN together. A hub can be passive or active. PASSIVE HUB allows signals to pass without changes and ACTIVE HUBS enhance the signal as it moves from one device to the other. HUBS are not so secure and safe . NB. The physical layer defines the relationship between a device and a transmission medium, such as a copper or optical cable 5. Switch: A switch is smarter than a hub, since the hub only does the work of data forwarding and it filters and forwards data. 6. Router: This is a network layer device that operates like a switch and routes/forwards data packets based on their IP addresses. It maintains a routing table in transferring data. Also, it connects multiple networks 7. Repeater . To connect computers to different networks, a BRIDGE and GATEWAY is needed. 8. Bridge: A bridge connects two or more Local Area Networks. It handles network that follow or uses the same protocol. 9. Gateway: Gateway is a network device used to connect two or more dissimilar networks (Networks that do not use the same protocols). .