Hardware LAN Components

We can roughly divide the hardware used in a LAN into three categories.


the purpose of a LAN is to connect stations such as computers, printers, and modems together. These stations are sometimes referred to as nodes, but we prefer the term station. Each station must be capable of being connected to the network; a station needs extra hardware or software tools to perform networking tasks such as sending and receiving data and monitoring the network. The hardware usually comes in the form of a network interface card (NIC), which is usually installed inside the station and contains necessary circuits to perform network functions.

Transmission Media

The transmission media is the path that follows communication between stations. LANs today use either guided (cable) or unguided (air) transmission media.

Connecting Devices

Two categories of connecting devices are used in LANs. One category consists of devices that connect transmission media to the stations; transceivers and transceiver cable fall in this category. The second category consists of devices that connect segments of a network together; repeaters and bridges fall into this category.