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What Are Network Devices and What Do They Do?

Posted October 24th, 2018 in For SMB, Network

When you go to get some work done on your computer, you might not realize that you rely on more than your Internet browser to get information, shop, or send emails. You’re also relying on an IP address that recognizes your computer and a reliable network. Networks are more than computers and wiring. Networks also include specific hardware devices. 

Networking devices have different roles in a computer network. The devices also work in different parts of a computer network performing separate jobs.

Keep reading this post to learn more about network devices and what each type does.



Computer networking devices are known by a few names. For example, networking devices, networking hardware, and network equipment. All of these names mean the same kind of thing but have different purposes.

If we look at the types of devices, they work at different layers of the computer networks. Different layers of computer networks are like different zones of a computer network with specified works, which are also called network protocols.

For example, a LAN (Local Area Network) cable has the purpose of connecting a computer to the local area network. A Wi-Fi router has the purpose of sending and receiving data between you and an internet connection. Likewise, we can think of more network devices with different purposes to serve. 


Different Networking Devices:

  • Network Hub:

This type of device is used to connect multiple network hosts. The device is also used for data transfers. The data is transferred in terms of packets on a computer network. When a host sends a data packet to a network hub, the hub copies the packet to all the ports that are connected. All the ports know about the data and the port that the packet is intended for then claims the packet.

However, because of its working mechanism, a hub is not very secure and safe. In addition, copying the data packets on all the interfaces or ports makes it slower and more congested which leads to using network switches.

  • Network Switch:

A switch also works at the layer of the LAN, but a switch is more intelligent than a hub. While a hub does data forwarding, a switch does filter and forwarding. This is a more intelligent way of dealing with data packets.

When a packet is received at one of the interfaces of the switch, it filters the packet and sends it solely to the intended receiver. For this purpose, a switch also maintains a CAM (Content Addressable Memory) table and has its own configuration and memory. A CAM table is also called a forwarding table or forwarding information base (FIB).

  • Modem:

A modem is a more interesting network device. If you’ve noticed, you have an internet connection through a wire (there are different types of wires) to your house. This wire is used to carry internet data outside to the internet world.

A computer creates binary data or digital data in forms of 1s and 0s. On the other hand, a wire carries an analog signal. So, this is where a modem comes in.

Modem stands for Modulator + Demodulator. This means it modulates and demodulates the signal between the digital data of a computer and the analog signal of a telephone line.

  • Network Router:

A router is a network device that’s responsible for routing traffic from one network to another. The two networks could be a private company network to a public network. You can think of a router as a traffic police officer directing network traffic to different directions.

  • Bridge:

If a router connects two different types of networks, then a bridge connects two subnetworks as a part of the same network. To visualize this, picture two different labs or two different floors connected by a bridge.

  • Repeater:

A repeater is an electronic device that strengthens the signal it receives. In other terms, you can think of a repeater as a device that receives a signal and retransmits it at a higher level or power, so the signal can cover longer distances.

When this type of network device takes a particular configurational shape on a network, their configuration gets a particular name and the whole construction is called Network Topology. In certain circumstances when more network devices are added to a network topology, it’s called Daisy Chaining.


We hope that you found this article useful and that you have learned more about network devices. Feel free to comment below with any questions or observations you have!


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Reference: Shekhar, Amar. (2016). Different Networking Devices And Hardware Types – Hub, Switch, Router, Modem, Bridge, Repeater. Retrieved from


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