Wired Netwrok Components

By: Jesse Miller

The key component that is required by every computer or other device that will be connected to the network is a Network Interface Card (NIC) or network adapter. NICs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed to connect desktop computers, laptops, PDAs or other devices to the network. The terms network adapter interface card or NIC are all synonymous.

If you want to avoid getting the screwdriver out, you can also get a NIC that plugs into a USB port on your desktop computer. Features which should be carefully evaluated while selecting PCI adapters are Wake on LAN, Flow control, Full duplex Data Transfer, 10/100 Base-T. Wake up LAN allows a computer hosting shared resources such as printer to be awakened from sleep mode by a signal sent from another computer in the network.

Flow control allows data transmission to be paused if high traffic on a network switch causing the data buffer to fill up. Full duplex data transfer allows data transmission and reception at the same time, speeding-up high bandwidth applications like network games. 10/100 Base-T supports fast Ethernet data transfer at 100 Mbps as well as standard Ethernet at 10Mbps.

Network topology relates to the geometry of the device interconnections in your network. There are two main network topologies that are relevant for home or small office networking topologies that are relevant for home or small office networking, bus and star, and a number of others that are used in large scale corporate networks.

In a bus topologies all networked devices are connected to a single interconnecting medium called the Bus. This topology has the advantages of cheapness and simplicity. No additional hardware is required beyond network adapters in each device and installation requires a single cable lay to each device location.

In a bus network the available bandwidth is shared by all devices. When one computer is transmitting data all the others have to wait their turn. The Universal Serial Bus (USB) connections which are included on virtually all computers manufactured today are often over looked as a means of achieving a simple networking or an internetworking capability.

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In a star topology each device is connected through a dedicated cable to a central point, where an additional network device called a hub or switch is located. The hub or switch controls the flow of data packets from one device to another across the network.

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