Components of a LAN network

The components used to establish a local area network (LAN) have different functions. The unifying common element among them is that they facilitate communication between two or more computers. LAN components can be configured in a variety of ways, but a LAN always requires the same basic components.

Network cables

Network cables are the physical lines that are used to transmit information between computers on a wired LAN. Cables are labeled by their category and are commonly known as CATX cable (where X is the category number). The most commonly used type in 2010 is Cat5, although there are other categories with different properties.

Network hub

A network hub acts as a centralized point for the transmission of data to computers in a LAN network. When the data of a team reaches the center, it is transmitted to all the computers in the network. The network bandwidth in local area networks (LANs) that use a network hub is shared, which means that if there are four computers in a hub, each will receive a quarter of the total bandwidth available in the center .

Network switches

An alternative to the network hub is the network switch. The switches represent a new network technology that gives each computer in the network a specific MAC address. This allows local area networks that use a network switch to share route information to individual computers. Because network switches do not transmit to all computers in the network at the same time, their bandwidth can be allocated to each computer.


Unlike switches and hubs, network routers are used to connect networks together, instead of connecting computers in a single network. Routers can connect groups of equipment that are separated by a wall or an ocean. They are most commonly found in the home, where they facilitate the connection of computers to the Internet; however, they can be used to connect networks of any kind. Modern network routers are actually the combination of units that contain a router and a network switch, as well as a handful of other functions related to the creation of tool networks such as a DHCP server and a firewall.