18 Jan 2022

How to connect network devices?

What is a Switch and how does it work?

switch ethernet ports with cabled plugged in

A switch is a special device responsible for forwarding data from and to other networking devices. Switches are often used in any kind of network, especially in those that require at least a few devices that need to be served. It receives data from one place and forwards it to the other using packet switching. Switches allow for different devices to talk to each other, computers, printers and servers wouldn't be able to work together without it. The switch uses something known as a MAC Address (read about MAC Addresses here) to identify devices in a network. Switches are also used for creating a thing called VLAN which are extremely powerful.

What is a Router and how does it work?

router led lights

A router is a device that allows your local network to communicate with other devices, as well as with the internet. There are numerous types of routers specialized for different types of networks, small local networks, business networks and huge corporation networks. The router is often the entry point of the entire network. If you are keen on gaming, you can read our gaming routers article! There are several types of networks that routers can handle:

A router is equipped with several interfaces which are used to connect the router to the network and other devices as well. Routers utilize IP addresses to decide where to forward data packets. You can set up your router easily, and use our guide. There are Single-Band, Dual-Band and Tri-Band routers, we've got an article about those as well!

What is an Access Point and how does it work?

a small white tp-link access point with two antennas

On the surface, an access point may resemble a router. In reality, it works pretty differently. It acts as a network range extender, making it easier for devices outside of the router's range to connect to the network. Usually, you would connect an access point to the router via ethernet cable, and the access point will convert this wired signal into a wireless one. This is great if you want to greatly extend your Wi-Fi signal. Access Points do not require any configuration, you just plug it in and it works!

What is a Repeater and how does it work?

a white network repeater with two antennas

Repeater's task is to take a wireless signal and make it stronger and wider, which will make the network more available. Repeaters are as easy to configure as Access Points, but are cheaper, and also don't require an ethernet cable. Repeaters are way better for making your network's signal stronger.

How to connect network devices and create a network?

person typing on a pc keyboard next to a monitor

So we had a look at network devices, what they're used for and how they work. Now let's try and create a fully functional network considering several setups and usages.

Home network:

To be honest, all you need is a router and maybe a repeater if your apartment/home is larger than usual. Almost any router will do.

Classroom network:

If you have a classroom consisting of many computers and you need to connect them all to a single network, you should utilize switches to reliably send data packets between devices. You can use one router for each class, or one router for several classes, using access points/repeaters or just simple ethernet cables connecting classes.

Business Network:

In your company, you would probably like to divide your big network into smaller networks, for business, accountancy and your workers. You can do it using different routers, switches, access points, and you can strengthen your networks' signal using repeaters. Make sure your network is highly protected.

By Maciej Oliwa on 18 Jan 2022

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