Explain Network Hardware in Computer networks

Explain Network Hardware in Computer networks


Network hardware has 2 main dimensions :

  • Transmission technology
  • Scale

Transmission Technology

In transmission technology, there are 2 types: Broadcast links and point-to-point links.

Broadcast links

  • On a broadcast network, the communication channel is shared by all the machines on the network
  • A wireless network is a common example of a broadcast link, with communication shared over a coverage region that depends on the wireless channel and the transmitting machine.
  • Broadcast systems usually also allow the possibility of addressing a packet to all destinations by using a special code in the address field. When a packet with this code is transmitted, it is received and processed by every machine on the network. This mode of operation is called broadcasting. Some broadcast systems also support transmission to a subset of the machines, which known as multicasting.

Point-to-Point links

  • Point-to-point links connect individual pairs of machines. To go from the source to the destination on a network made up of point-to-point links, short messages, called packets is used.
  • Point-to-point transmission with exactly one sender and exactly one receiver is sometimes called unicasting.


Personal Area Networks:

  • PANs (Personal Area Networks) let devices communicate over the range of a person.

Local Area Network:

  • A LAN is a privately owned network that operates within and nearby a single building like a home, office or factory.
  • LAN characteristics
  • The size is restricted
  • Transmission technology
  • high speed – 10Gpbs
  • Topology (physical and local): Bus, Ring, Star (Hub)

Metropolitan Area Networks:

  • A metropolitan area work, or, MAN is basically a bigger version of a LAN and normally uses similar technology.
  • A key aspect of MAN is that there is a broadcast medium to which all the computers are attached.

A metropolitan area network based on cable TV

Wide Area Networks:

  • A WAN consists of a collection of machines intended for running user programs (hosts, end systems) and a pure communication subnet(subnet)
  • The subnet consists of two distinct components:
    • Transmission lines
    • Switching elements

stream of packets from sender to receiver


  • An internetwork or just the internet is a collection of interconnected networks.
  • A common form of internet is a collection of  LANs connected by a WAN.
  • Differences among WANs, subnets, networks, and internetworks.
    • WAN = subnet + hosts
    • Subnet + hosts -> WAN -> network
    • Cable  + hosts -> LAN  -> network
    • Many interconnected networks -> internetworks.
  • Different owners Different technologies.

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