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LAN Hardware

There are basic hardware component of LAN are:-
  • Transmission channel:- Four types of channels are used for data communication in LAN. They are
    1. Twisted pair cable.
    2. Coaxial cable
    3. Radio waves.
  • Network Interface Unit (NIU):- Network interface units connect each devices in the LAN network to shared transmission device. It contain rules and logic to access the LAN. NIU is also used to implement LAN protocols and for device attachment. Its function depends on the type of topology used in LAN.
  • Servers:- One of the major benefits of LAN is sharing expensive resources such as storage devices, printer etc. This is achieved through providing servers on LAN. It is dedicated computer that controls one or more resources. This contains both hardware and software interface for LAN. Three major categories of servers used in LANs are:-
    • File server:- File server is used to share storage space for files. It is used to taking periodical backup and also provide gateway to other servers within and between LANs.
    • Printer server:- Printer server is used to handle printing works of all workstation connected in the network.
    • Modem Server:- In LAN environment also modem is required to get connected to other network or simply use a telephone. A modem server is used to share resource by all connected workstations in a network.
  • Workstations:- In a network, computers are connected with servers or main computer known as workstation/terminal/client/slave.

LAN Software/Operating System

Main software of LAN is operating system, manage workload with number of various type of server attached to it. It has two aspects
  1. Server software
  2. Workstation software.
LAN Operating system facilitates the sharing of expensive resources such as printer, storage space etc. There are various type of LAN operating system for example Novel Netware, Win NT, Win 2000 server, Unix etc.
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN):- A type of computer network that is designed for a city or town is known as MAN. MAN is larger than LAN and smaller than WAN.
  • Wide Area Network(WAN):- A Network that covers a large geographical area and covers different cities, states, and countries known as WAN. One LAN can be connected to other LAN over any distance via telephone and radio waves. A system of LANs connected in this way is called WAN.

LAN Devices

  • Switch:- A device that directs data packets along a path. It may include the function of a router. In general, a switch is a simpler and faster mechanism than a router as it does not maintain knowledge of the networks. A switch is not always required in a network.
  • Hub:- A hub is a central connecting device in a network. Data arrives at the hub from one or more devices and is forwarded out using just one cable. For example, four cables from three computers and a printer are connected to a hub and then a single cable connects the hub to a server. A hub can also include a router. The data simply passed through the hub without any change.


WAN Devices

Routing is responsible for searching a path between two computing devices that wish to communicate and for forwarding the data packets on this path. Devices such as bridges, router and gateway provide this routing function.
  • Bridges:- Bridges are used to connect two LANs that use identical protocols over a wide area. The bridge act as an address filter which picks up packets from one LAN that are intended for a destination on another LAN and passes these packets on the network. 
  • Router:- Routers can be used to connect networks that may not be similar. Routers provide connectivity between two LANs or two WANs over large geographical distances. 
  • Gateway:- Gateways are used to connect two dissimilar LANs. A gateway is required to convert data packets from one protocol to another before forwarding it, as it connect two dissimilar networks.

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