Networking hardware is a set of devices necessary for the operation of a computer network, for example: a router, a switch, a hub, a patch panel, etc.
Active networking hardware is equipment containing electronic circuits receiving power from an electrical network or other sources and performing the functions of amplification, signal transformation, and others. This means such equipment is able to process the signal by special algorithms. In the networks there is a package data transfer, each data package also contains technical information about its source, purpose, the integrity of information, etc, allowing to deliver the package to its destination.
Active networking hardware includes the following types of devices:
- Network adapter - a card that is installed in the computer and provides its connection to the LAN;
- Repeater - a device, usually with two ports, designed to repeat the signal in order to increase the length of the network segment;
- Hub (active hub, multiport repeater) - a device with 4-32 ports, used to connect users to the network;
- Bridge - a device with 2 ports, usually used to combine several LAN (local area network) workgroups, allows you to filter network traffic by analyzing network (MAC) addresses;
- Switch - a device with several (4-32) ports, used to combine several LAN working groups (otherwise called multiport bridge);
- Router (router) - used to combine several LAN workgroups, allows you to filter network traffic by analyzing network (IP) addresses;
- Retranslator - to create an advanced wireless network with a larger coverage area and is an alternative to a wired network. By default, the device operates in the signal amplification mode and acts as a relay station that catches the signal from the base network router or access point and transfers it to previously unavailable sites.
- Media converter - a device, usually with two ports, used to convert the data transfer medium (coaxial-twisted pair, twisted-pair optical fibre);
- A network transceiver is a device, usually with two ports, commonly used to convert the data format. A transceiver can be mentioned as a Medium Access Unit (MAU) in Ethernet network terminology.
Additionally to this set of devices, to become a part of the network, a computer must have a network interface card (NIC).
Mentioned above networking hardware can be called a set of computer networking devices or