Components of a Network

How they work


A router is an interconnection. This allows computers to connect to a variety of networks. The most common router connects a computer to connect to the internet. They can connect to the router using an Ethernet cable or wireless. It works with an Ethernet cable by sending the radio waves directly from the router through the cable to the computer. Wireless models are the most common type of broadband router. Basically speaking, internet data comes in to the router from the phone line and is converted into radio signals. This signal is then picked up by the network card in your computer, smartphone or games console and translated into internet data again.


A network switch is a small hardware device that joins multiple computers together within one land area network or LAN. Network switches appear nearly identical to network hubs but a switch generally contains more intelligence and more expensive than a hub. Network switches are capable of inspecting data packets as they are received, determining the source and destination device of each packet, and forwarding them appropriately. By delivering messages only to the connected device intended, a network switch conserves network bandwidth and offers generally better performance than a hub.


A hub is another connection point for computers to connect too. Hubs are usually used to connect computers to one and another by transporting segments of data packages along to different computers on the same network. A passive hub does nothing. All it does is allow data to pass through it server as a connection. A third type of hub which is called a switching hub actually reads the destination address of each data packet and forwards it to the correct destination much like an email.


A server is a large storage device. It is a vital connection for the network as it stores all the data. It also manages the login's and who is allowed to do what. It controls most of the network but doesn't execute commands just stores data.


A client is not a person, it is the computer. In a way the computer is acting like a client accepting orders and executing them. For example requesting to go onto the internet requires going through the network whether it is a home network or a LAN network. This can be done by any computer and when the computer connects it is a part of the network and is now a client.

Network Interface Card (NIC)

The NIC is used to connect an Ethernet cable to the world wide web. It is just a simple connection port inside the computer to connect to any network within appropriate wire distance.

Ring Network

A Ring network can be good. Data is quickly transferred from client to client as it is all going in one direction. The data packets are also very simple and quick and if you have many computers running adding additional ones rarely slows down the network so you can keep streaming at a fast pace. However the data packets must pass through every computer so if the clients are not close together data is slow. Also if one of the nodes has FAILED then the network crashes and because they are all wired together to add another client you must shut down the entire network. To add to the disadvantages for all computers to communicate and send data the computers all must be on. This is a bad network because this relies entirely on one cable.

Star Network

This is the best network. This is because if one of the clients fail the network will not crash because they are not inter connected directly. They are also extremely easy to install. Even though they are easy to install they are also very expensive and require extra hardware to support the network. For example you might need a router or a server. The only way this network could fail is if the server was to crash.

Bus Network

A bus network is easy to set up, it is also a quick fix for a temporary network. It is also cheaper then any other network to set up. You can also add computers and detach computers as you please because it is not going through the main line. However if there's a problem with a cable the entire network is shut down. To maintain this network will cost a lot of money this means that if you thought it would be cheap it is not. Also performance of the network goes down if there is heavy traffic of data. These are also a low security so precious data could be accessed. This network IS slowed down by more computers and clients being added so if you are using it for a big company it is not the best. Only one data package can be sent across the line at once so it is very slow.

Peer to Peer Network

This is where each computer has equal status, its easy to maintain, there is no server and the computers can back each other up Independently This means that these computers have many small servers as themselves so they do not have to rely on a server. This means if a server crashes within the LAN all data is lost. This way computers to not have to risk loosing data as there are many back ups on each computer.

Client Server

A Client server is a connection of a numerous amount of computers or clients connected to the same network. This IS where they rely on a server to back up and store their data. All of the work is shared into the network and can be accessed by any of the clients if they are allowed by the server.


A Land Area Network (aka LAN) is used for a small section E.G Sainsburies. It is not as small as a home network which is usually just peer to peer but large enough to keep an entire school or shop connected. These can be used by any computer in the area and is used for log ins and data which needs to be shared throughout the area. The good things about LAN is that you can easily connect all computers to a printer instead of them having to buy seperate ones. They also don't need hard drives or disc drives or even memory! This is because it's stored inside the server and can be accesed by local clients. Also when they save on any client they can open it on another client. Also if windows has an update you upload it to the server and it is instantly uploaded to all clients, a WAN is not allowed to do this. The bad side is security is very risky so extra precautions must be used to stop hackers. Also the individual Networks can be difficult to set up and technicians are required to maintain the network and if the Server falls to a virus then the server uploads the virus to all clients.


A World Area Network (aka WAN) is used obviously Worldwide. A great example of a WAN is the internet. This is the biggest WAN that has ever existed because literally any network can be tied into it and be used as clients. LAN's are tied into WAN's and a WAN is simply just a large amount of LAN's put together. WAN's have extremely high speed and bandwith which is best for the user. It is a lot easier to transfer information from server to server and client to client. However to set up a WAN takes a lot of equipment and is very expensive. Also a WAN needs to have a provider to handle all data and correct data transport. The bandwidth is also extremely expensive.

Difference between WAN and LAN

The other difference between LAN and WAN, is the speed of the network. The maximum speed of a LAN can be 1000 megabits per second, while the speed of a WAN can go up to 150 megabits per second. This means the speed of a WAN, is one-tenth of the speed of a LAN. A WAN is usually slower because it has lower bandwidth. Computers in a LAN can share a printer if they are all in the same LAN. On the other hand a WAN cannot share a printer so a computer in one country cannot use a printer in another country. A LAN does not need a dedicated computer to direct traffic to and from the Internet, unlike a WAN that needs a special-purpose computer, whose only purpose is to send and receive data from the Internet. Another LAN vs. WAN comparison is the cost of the network. A WAN is more expensive than a LAN. It is easier to expand a LAN than a WAN. The equipment needed for a LAN is a network interface card, a switch and a hub. On the other hand, the equipment needed to connect a WAN to the Internet is a modem and a router. The modem may be a cable modem or a DSL modem that is connected to a wall jack, while the router should be configured so that it can handle the packets traveling between the WAN and the internet. In LAN and WAN, there is a difference in the networking standard used. A LAN uses the Ethernet standard, while a WAN uses the T1 standard. Before Ethernet, the protocols used for LAN were Attached Resource Computer Network and Token Ring. The protocols used for WAN are Frame Relay and Asynchronous Transfer Mode. Here is an explanation of LANs and WANs. A LAN is easy to set up. You also need to install the driver for the NIC. On the other hand, a WAN is very difficult to set up. There is often an appliance to help improve the WAN. There is also a device to cache WAN data, so workers in the branch office can quickly access documents.