Learn the Components of a Network
There are several essential components in a network:
Switches are pieces of hardware that connect devices in a network. They allow information to be sent between PCs, printers, mobile devices, servers and other devices quickly and efficiently. You connect devices to a switch with cables.
An access point is a hardware device that allows Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to a network without cables. It can be built into a router or connected via ethernet cable. Access points are customarily used for networks with many devices like an office, school or coffee shop.
A server is a high-powered machine that dispatches data to devices in a network. There are several types of servers including web, email, FTP and identity.
Web servers send data to client devices through browsers like Chrome, Firefox or Safari. They deliver web pages and files stored in the cloud to phones, PCs and other devices.
Clients include any computer hardware or application in a network that requests data from a server. This client-server relationship is what makes a network function.
The most common types of network clients used by businesses are desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, lights and AI devices.
IP addresses are unique identification codes for network devices that tell servers where to send data. A device must have an IP address to allow other devices to establish a connection with it.
- Public IP addresses identify your network to external devices and networks.
- Private IP addresses also identify network devices, but they are only visible to your network.
Routers and Firewalls
A router acts as the gateway to your network. It also allows all networked computers to use one internet connection.
Routers analyze data coming into your network and tell it where to go.
You can customize routers with additional security features to protect your network from cyberattacks. One type of protection is a firewall.