Network hardware and physical media
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Network Hardware and Physical Media - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Network Hardware and Physical Media . Network hardware includes: Computers Peripherals Interface cards and Other equipment needed to perform data processing and communications within the network. File servers.

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Network Hardware and Physical Media

  • Network hardware includes:

    • Computers

    • Peripherals

    • Interface cards and

    • Other equipment needed to perform data processing and communications within the network

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File servers

  • A very fast computer with a large amount of RAM and storage space along with a fast network interface card

  • The network operating system software resides on this computer

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  • All computers connected to the file server on a network are called workstations

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Network interface cards

  • The network interface card (NIC) provides the physical connection between the network and the computer workstation.

  • Most NICs are internal with the card fitting into an expansion slot in the computer.

  • Three common network interface connections are Ethernet cards, Local Talk connectors and Token Ring cards

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Ethernet cards

  • The most common Network Interface Cards are Ethernet cards

  • They contain connections for either coaxial or twisted pair cables, or both

Co-axial cable

Twisted pair cable

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Concentrators / Hubs

  • A concentrator is a device that provides a central connection point for cables from workstations, servers and peripherals

  • Hubs are multi-slot concentrators

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  • hubs provide an easy way to scale up and shorten the distance that the packets must travel to get from one node to another

  • they do not break up the actual network into discrete segments. That is where switches come in.

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Switches (continued)

  • A vital difference between a hub and a switch is

    • all the nodes connected to a hub share the bandwidth among themselves.

    • while a device connected to a switch port has the full bandwidth all to itself.

  • Think of a switch as a ‘clever’ hub

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  • A signal loses strength as it passes along a cable, so it is often necessary to boost the signal with a device called a repeater

  • A repeater might be a separate device, or might be part of a concentrator

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  • A bridge is a device that allows you to segment a large network into two smaller, more efficient networks

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An example of a network with a bridge








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  • A router translates information from one network to another

  • The router directs traffic to prevent “head-on” collisions

  • If you have a LAN that you want to connect to the Internet, you will need a router to serve as the translator between information on your LAN and the Internet

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Physical Media

  • Physical media provide the connections between network devices that make networking possible

  • There are four main types of physical media in widespread use today:

    • Coaxial Cable

    • Twisted Pair

    • Fiber Optic Cable

    • Wireless Media

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LAN Technologies


  • Physical Media :-

    • 10 Base5 - Thick Co-axial Cable with Bus Topology

    • 10 Base2 - Thin Co-axial Cable with Bus Topology

    • 10 BaseT - UTP Cat 3/5 with Tree Topology

    • 10 BaseFL - Multimode/Singlemode Fiber with Tree


  • Maximum Segment Length

    • 10 Base5 - 500 m with at most 4 repeaters (Use Bridge to extend the network)

    • 10 Base2 - 185 m with at most 4 repeaters (Use Bridge to extend the network)

    • 10 BaseT - 100 m with at most 4 hubs (Use Switch to extend the network)

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Thick Coaxial Cable

  • Used in the first Ethernet networks

  • Type RG-11 / 10Base5

  • Usually orange/black

  • Thickness of a small garden hose

  • Very expensive and heavy cable

  • Two strands along the axis

  • Conductor down the center

  • Insulator surrounds conductor

  • Shielded mesh serves as outside

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Thin Coaxial Cable

  • Alternative to Thick Ethernet Cable

  • Type RG-58 / 10Base2 / “Cheapnet”

  • Usually black

  • Thickness of a pencil

  • More flexible than thick Ethernet

  • Reduced the cost of the cabling

  • Flexible

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Coaxial cable connectors

  • The most common type of connector used with coaxial cables is the BNC connector

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Twisted Pair Cable

  • Phone Systems

  • Twisted Pair Cable consists of two copper wires, usually twisted around each other to cancel out any noise in the circuit

  • Two main type of Twisted Pair Cabling

    • Shielded Twisted Pair (STP)

    • Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)

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Shielded Twisted Pair (STP)

  • STP is the original media used for token ring networks

  • STP can be used for high-speed networks, such as FDDI or ATM, where shielding is important.

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Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)

  • UTP has four pairs of wires inside the jacket

  • Each pair is twisted with a different number of twists per inch to help eliminate interference from adjacent pairs

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UTP (Continued)

  • Most commonly used twisted pair cable

  • Uses common telephone wire

  • UTP was standardized by the IEEE 802.3 committee in October of 1990

  • UTP for LANs is now classified as:

    • Category 3 - used for LANs up to 10 Mbps

    • Category 4 - used for LANs up to 16 Mbps

    • Category 5 - used for LANs up to 100 Mbps

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Fiber Optic Cable

  • Fiber optic cabling consists of a center glass core surrounded by several layers of protective materials

  • It transmits light rather than electronic signals

  • It is the standard for connecting networks between buildings, due to its immunity to the effects of moisture and light

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Fiber Optic (continued)

  • Fiber optic cable has the ability to transmit signals over much longer distances than coaxial or twisted pair

  • It can also carry information at vastly greater speeds

  • Fiber optic cable is more difficult to install than other cabling

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Wireless LANS

  • Wireless networks use high frequency radio signals to communicate between the workstations and the fileserver or hubs.

  • Disadvantages of wireless networks are:

    • they are expensive (relatively),

    • provide poor security,

    • are susceptible to interference and

    • are slower than cabled networks