Components of a Network

The 6 main components of a network.

Router

A router is a device that takes data from the network and sends it to it's predetermined destination; the router does this by looking in the data and finding where it needs to go in its either wired or wireless network. Using a set of rules or a routing table it then sends the data to the next network.

Switch

A network switch is a device used to link network devices together. This is used to send data packets to only one computer which is the intended recipient, this means its more efficient than a hub.

Hub

A networking hub is a device for connecting multiple networking devices together unlike the switch though it is less efficient as it sends data to all of its recipients instead of just the one intended recipient the data is suppose to go to. It does not examine or manage any of the traffic that comes through it: any packet entering any port is rebroadcast on all other ports.

Client

A client is a piece of computer hardware or software that accesses a service made available by a server. The server is often (but not always) on another computer system, in which case the client accesses the service by way of a network. A client is a computer program that, as part of its operation, relies on sending a request to another computer program (which may or may not be located on another computer).

Server

In the most common use, a server is a physical computer (a computer hardware system) dedicated to run one or more services (as a host)., to serve the needs of the users of other computers on a network. Depending on the computing service that it offers it could be a database server, file server, mail server, print server, web server, gaming server, or some other kind of server.


In the context of client-server architecture, a server is a computer program running to serve the requests of other programs, the "clients". Thus, the server performs some computational task on behalf of "clients." The clients either run on the same computer, or they connect through the network.

ring network

A ring network is a network topology in which each node connects to exactly two other nodes, forming a single continuous pathway for signals through each node - a ring. Data travels from node to node, with each node along the way handling every packet.

Ring networks are very inefficient as all the data must go one way around the ring creating a slow circle of data. Also if the first client wants to send data to the last one it will have go round the whole ring.

Star Network

Star networks are one of the most common computer network topologies. In its simplest form, a star network consists of one central switch, hub or computer, which acts as a conduit to transmit messages. This consists of a central node, to which all other nodes are connected; this central node provides a common connection point for all nodes through a hub. In Star topology every node (computer workstation or any other peripheral) is connected to central node called hub or switch. The switch is the server and the peripherals are the clients. Thus, the hub and leaf nodes, and the transmission lines between them, form a graph with the topology of a star.

These are very efficient as the data can travel straight to the server and then to another client. However if the server goes down the whole network will go down.

Bus network

A bus network topology is a network architecture in which a set of clients are connected via a shared communications line/cables, called a bus. There are several common instances of the bus architecture, including one in the motherboard of most computers.

Bus networks are the simplest way to connect multiple clients, but may have problems when two clients want to transmit at the same time on the same bus. Thus systems which use bus network architectures normally have some scheme of collision handling or collision avoidance for communication on the bus, quite often using Carrier Sense Multiple Access or the presence of a bus master which controls access to the shared bus resource.

These are easy to add computers to but they are very slow as only one piece of data can travel to another client at one time making the whole process very slow.

LAN

LAN is Local Area Network these are used in small networks were only a few computers are linked together in a business or constitution they are fast as they only have travel small distances. They do not have to use the internet and are controlled by servers. They are different from WANs which use the internet to connect more than one computers (or sometimes even LANs) over a larger area these also sometimes use satellites. These are used to for example connect all the computers in a school together. These are faster than WANs but can connect computers over larger distances.

WAN

WAN is Worldwide Area Network these networks connect many LANs or computers over larger distances using the internet or satellites. These are used for example to connect smaller outlets of a business to each other. These networks can connect computers with further distances than LAN although it is slower than LAN.