In this day and age we are always connected. Networking devices are some of the most important items that allow us to communicate with others, surf the Web, send and receive streams of data, and hold a videoconference with employees spread all over the world. Understanding networking devices is almost a survival requirement in our highly advanced, hi-tech, and modern world. This article covers them in layman’s terms.
Probably each one of us has dealt with repeaters, hubs, switches, routers, and network devices of these kinds—however, even if they somehow look similar, there are major and crucial differences between them. Understanding each down to their core and being familiar with their “inner workings” at an architectural level may or may not be necessary. Certainly not for the home user that just wants to make things work.
As a result, we won’t go that deep at all. What we must clarify are those situations where each is optimal, how to decide when to use which, how to understand their list of specifications, and analyze their features. Reading this article should demystify some of the most common networking devices of which you have already heard; perhaps you are also currently using some, or are planning to purchase one to implement in your network.
This article also kick-starts a networking multi-part series. It covers the most basic networking devices and the ones that you are most likely to need -- if not now, sometime in the future. The second upcoming article will discuss some of the more advanced devices, such as external firewalls and multi-layer switches, and introduce concepts such as proxies, DHCP, andDMZ (demilitarized zone).
Now that you know what to expect, it’s time for us to begin. Just “turn” the page.
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