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Networking Primer

Want to know a little more about basic network design principles? Here we will outline some valuable definitions of common network devices and how they are used.

Network Hub - This is the least sophisticated type of networking device. It is used to connect a group of computers together so they can all communicate with each other. A cable runs from each computer's network interface card (NIC) to the hub. The hub can have as few as four ports or as many as forty-eight, with one port reserved for each computer (or another networking device). Any data sent from one computer reaches its port on the hub and is then re-broadcast to ALL of the other ports on the hub.

Hub DiagramData is sent to the hub by one computer

Hub DiagramThe data is rebroadcast to all computers

This is great since it offers connectivity, but in very few instances is it necessary for every computer on the network to hear what one of the other computers is saying. Most network interactions are point-to-point in nature, so re-broadcasting both ends of a "conversation" to all the nearby computers is quite inefficient - the computers not involved in the conversation simply ignore it. All of this extra and unnecessary traffic can also cause a busy network to reach its performance limit rather quickly.

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