Network component

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Network components , also known as network devices or computer network devices, are physical devices that are required for devices to communicate and interact on a computer network. In particular, they convey data in a computer network. Devices that are the final recipient or generate data are called hosts or data terminals.


Network devices can include gateways , routers , network bridges , modems , wireless access points , network cables, line drivers, switches , hubs, and repeaters ; they can 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 associated hardware.

Other network devices used in computers include data center equipment (such as file servers, database servers, and storage spaces), network services (such as DNS , DHCP , email, etc.), and devices that ensure content delivery.

The most common type of network device used today is a copper-based Ethernet adapter, which is standard on most modern computer systems. Wireless networks are becoming increasingly popular, especially for portable devices.

In a broader sense, cell phones , tablet computers, and devices connected to the Internet of Things can also be viewed as network devices. With technological progress and the integration of IP-based networks into building infrastructure and building services, network hardware is becoming an ambiguous term due to the rapidly increasing number of network-compatible end points.


In the case of network components, a distinction is made between active and passive network components.

Passive components

The material that works without any power supply is referred to as passive network components. These include in particular: lines, cables and patch cables , junction boxes, plugs and sockets. Assemblies that only contain passive components (i.e. resistors, capacitors, etc.) such as B. DSL splitters are usually added to this group.

Active components

Active network components are all devices that can actively process or amplify signals ( network devices ). You need a power supply for this. This group includes hubs and switches , routers , bridges , firewalls and session border controllers . A part of a computer can also be a network component , e.g. B. Network card and ISDN card .

Individual evidence

  1. Networking Basics: Part 1 - Networking Hardware. August 10, 2006, accessed May 21, 2019 .
  2. a b c Hardware Components: Active and Passive. April 25, 2005, accessed May 21, 2019 .