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Internetworking Devices

These are used to connect different devices in the network or two connect two or more different networks.

Following devices are used for interconnection:-

  • Modem
  • Hub
  • Switch
  • Repeater
  •  Router
  • Bridge
  • Gateway

Following is the diagram showing various interconnecting devices that work on different layers.

Modem: Modem stands for Modulator-Demodulator. It is used to connect computers for communication via telephone lines.

Hub: It works at the Physical layer. It just acts like a connector of several computers i.e it simply connects all the devices on its ports together .It broadcasts all the data packets arriving at it with no filtering capacity.

Switch: It works at the Data Link Layer. It is used for dividing a network into segments called subnets. It provides filtering of data packets and prevents network traffic also.

Repeater: It operates at the physical layer. It is used to amplify a signal that has lost its original strength so as to enable them to travel long distances. It can only join the networks that transmit similar data packets. It does not have filtering  capacity i.e. all data including noise is amplified and passed on in the network so don’t help in reducing network traffic.

Router: It works at the network layer and is used to connect different networks that have different architectures and protocols. It sends the data packets to desired destination by choosing the best path available thus reducing network traffic. It routes the data packets using the routing table that contains all the Information regarding all known network addresses, possible paths and cost of transmission over them. Availability of path and cost of transmission decide sending of data over that path. It is of 2 types: static (manual configuration of routing table is needed) and dynamic (automatically discovers paths).

Gateway: It operates in all the layers of the network architecture. It can be used to connect two different networks having different architectures, environment and even models. It converts the data packets in form that is suitable to the destination application. The two different networks may differ in types of communication protocols they use, language, data formats etc.

Bridge: They are used two connect two LANs with the same standard but using different types of cables. It provides an intelligent connection by allowing only desired messages to cross the bridge thus improving performance. It uses physical addresses of the packets for this decision. It works on data link layer of the OSI model. A bridge uses Spanning tree Algorithm for data transmission so as to avoid loops in the network.

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