Networking hardware

Networking hardware, also known as network equipment or computer networking devices, are physical devices which are required for communication and interaction between devices on a computer network. Specifically, they mediate data in a computer network.[1] Units which are the last receiver or generate data are called hosts or data terminal equipment.


Networking devices may include gateways, routers, network bridges, modems, wireless access points, networking cables, line drivers, switches, hubs, and repeaters; and may also include hybrid network devices such as multilayer switches, protocol converters, bridge routers, proxy servers, firewalls, network address translators, multiplexers, network interface controllers, wireless network interface controllers, ISDN terminal adapters and other related hardware.

The most common kind of networking hardware today is a copper-based Ethernet adapter which is a standard inclusion on most modern computer systems. Wireless networking has become increasingly popular, especially for portable and handheld devices.

Other networking hardware used in computers includes data center equipment (such as file servers, database servers and storage areas), network services (such as DNS, DHCP, email, etc.) as well as devices which assure content delivery.

Taking a wider view, mobile phones, PDAs and even modern coffee machines may also be considered networking hardware. As technology advances and IP-based networks are integrated into building infrastructure and household utilities, network hardware will become an ambiguous term owing to the vastly increasing number of "network capable" endpoints.

Specific devices

Hybrid network devices include:

Hardware or software components which typically sit on the connection point of different networks (for example, between an internal network and an external network) include:

Other hardware devices used for establishing networks or dial-up connections include:

See also


  1. 1 2 IEEE 802.3-2012 Clause 9.1
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  7. Dean, Tamara (2010). Network+ Guide to Networks. Delmar. pp. 256–257.
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  13. Oppliger, Rolf (May 1997). "Internet Security: FIREWALLS and BEYOND". Communications of the ACM. 40 (5): 94. doi:10.1145/253769.253802.
  14. "ATIS Telecom Glossary". Retrieved 2016-02-12.
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