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Network Devices

Electronic devices that are necessary for interaction and communication between devices on a computer network are referred to as networking hardware, also known as network equipment or computer networking devices. They moderate data transmission specifically within computer networks.

In this article, we will look more into Network Devices according to the GATE Syllabus for (Computer Science Engineering) CSE. We will read ahead to find out more about it.

Table of Contents

What are Network Devices?

Network devices are physical hardware components that link computers, printers, fax machines, and other electronic devices to a network. These devices quickly, securely, and accurately transfer data over the same or separate networks. Network equipment can be either intra or inter-networked. A NIC card or RJ45 connection is an installed device, whereas a router, switch, or another network device is a network component. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these tools.


A computer may send and receive data through phone or cable lines with the help of a modem. In contrast to a telephone line or cable wire, which can only carry analog data, the data saved on a computer is digital.

The modem’s primary job is to transform digital signals between analog and digital and vice versa. Combining a modulator and a demodulator creates a modem. When digital data is sent by the computer, the modulator turns it into analog data. When analog data signals are received by the computer, they are demodulated into digital data.

Types of Modem

The direction in which a modem can transfer data, the type of connection it has to the transmission line, the manner of transmission, etc., are all ways in which it can be classified.

There are several different types of modems depending on the direction of data transmission:

  • Simplex − Using a simplex modem, data can only be transferred from a digital device to a network (modulator) or from a network to a digital device in one direction (demodulator).
  • Half duplex − While a half-duplex modem can transport data in both ways, it can do so only in one direction at a time.
  • Full duplex − A full duplex modem may simultaneously send data in both directions.

RJ45 Connector

Registered Jack 45 is referred to as RJ45. Devices physically connect to Ethernet-based local area networks using the 8-pin RJ45 connector (LANs). Ethernet is a technology that specifies LAN setup procedures. Twisted pair cables with RJ45 connector pins are used for Ethernet LANs. These pins fit into the appropriate socket on the device and link it to the network.

Ethernet Card

A network interface card (NIC), commonly referred to as an Ethernet card, is a piece of hardware that computers use to connect to Ethernet LANs and communicate with other LAN-connected devices. Earlier, Ethernet cards required manual installation because they were external to the system. It is a piece of internal hardware in contemporary computers. The network connection is physically inserted into the NIC’s RJ45 socket.

The protocols an Ethernet card supports may affect its speed. The top speed of older Ethernet cards was 10 Mbps. Modern cards, however, support 100 Mbps-capable fast Ethernets. Some cards even have a 1 Gbps capacity.


If both LANs implement the same set of protocols, a router would be a network layer hardware device that transports data from one LAN to another. Therefore, the ISP (internet service provider) and at least two LANs are commonly connected to a router. Data frames with the destination address added are called packets, and this is how it receives data. Before sending the signals, the router also amplifies them. Because of this, it is also known as a repeater.

Routing Table

A router consults its routing table to determine the fastest and most precise path a packet can take to get to its destination. There are two different types of routing tables:

  • Static − A static routing table requires manual feeding of the routes. Therefore, it is only appropriate for extremely small networks with a maximum of two to three routers.
  • Dynamic − In the case of a dynamic routing table, the router uses protocols to communicate with other routers to find out which routes are open. This works well in bigger networks where the sheer number of routers could make hand feeding impractical.


A switch is a type of network equipment that utilises twisted pair wires to join other devices to Ethernet networks. To receive, store and forward data packets across the network, it employs packet switching technology. All of the connected devices’ network addresses are kept on file by the switch.

When it receives a packet, it examines the destination address before transmitting it to the appropriate port. The packets are examined for network issues such as collisions before being forwarded. Full duplex transmission is used for the data.

Switches have the potential to transmit data twice as quickly as other networking equipment like hubs. This is due to the switch’s shared maximum speed with all connected devices. This aids in keeping network speed even during periods of heavy traffic. In reality, using several switches allows networks to operate at larger data rates.


A network device called a gateway is used to link two or more diverse networks. Networks that use various protocols are referred to as dissimilar networks. A computer with numerous NICs connected to various networks serves as a gateway most of the time. The software can also be used to set up a gateway fully. These gateways, which allow networks to connect to other networks, are typically hosts or the endpoints of a network.

Gateways transmit data from any network to another using the packet switching mechanism. It is comparable to a router in this regard, with the exception that a router can only transport data over networks that employ the same protocols.

Wi-Fi Card

Wireless fidelity is known as Wi-Fi. Any network can be connected wirelessly using Wi-Fi technology. Any device can connect wirelessly to the local network using a Wi-Fi card. The term “Wi-Fi hotspot” refers to the actual area of the network that offers internet access via Wi-Fi. Any public area, including your house or office, can host a hotspot. The hotspots themselves are wired into the network.

An outdated device can be upgraded with a Wi-Fi card to add features like teleconferencing, image transfer from a digital camera, video chat etc. The wireless network adaptor is built into most modern gadgets.

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