Christmas Offer - Every Learner Must Check Out - Flat 88% OFF on All Access Pass
PyNet Labs- Network Automation Specialists

Network Devices and its Various Types

Author : PyNet Labs
Last Modified: December 6, 2023 
A blog featured image with text Network Devices and its Types and a network topology image.


A computer network comprises a collection of interconnected devices. These devices, including computers, printers, and other data-transmitting tools, are linked through communication channels. Various types of network devices are utilized to establish, maintain, protect, and improve network connections. Network Devices carry out different functions at different layers of the OSI model and have different features. In this blog post, we will discuss Network Devices in Computer Networks, their purpose, and their different types.

Before getting into the different types of Network Devices in Computer Networks, let’s first understand what network devices are.

What are Network Devices?

Network devices are hardware components that facilitate connection establishment and control network traffic between devices within a computer network. Apart from that, these devices manage their operations. They can function at different layers of the OSI model, like the data link layer, physical layer, network layer, or application layer. Some may even operate across multiple layers, while others are designed for only one layer.

Network devices can be broadly classified into two categories:

  • End devices: End devices are the ones that originate or terminate the data flow on a network. They can be hosts (such as computers, servers, printers) or clients (such as web browsers and email clients). End devices have a unique address that identifies them on the network.
  • Intermediary devices: Intermediary devices are the ones that connect end devices and allow data transmission on a network. Intermediary devices can be hubs, switches, routers, repeaters, gateways, firewalls, or access points. These devices are responsible for performing functions like filtering, forwarding, amplifying, or translating the data packets.

Let’s discuss the purpose of Network devices in detail.

Purpose of Network Devices

The primary objective of network devices is to facilitate communication and collaboration between nodes within a network. They also play a role in enhancing network performance, security, and reliability. Some specific functions performed by network devices include:

  • Expanding the network’s coverage by amplifying or regenerating signals.
  • Dividing or filtering traffic to create subnetworks within the network.
  • Interconnecting different types of networks by converting or translating protocols.
  • Directing data packets to their intended destinations by determining the optimal path.
  • Safeguarding the network against access or malicious attacks through policy enforcement and rule implementation.
  • Enabling wireless connectivity to the network through the creation of a hotspot or bridging.

Now we have a better understanding of computer network devices, let’s move on to the different types of networking devices.

Types of Network Devices

Many network devices can be used in computer networking. Some of these have been explained below:


Switches serve as networking devices that function at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. The main purpose of switches is to connect end devices within a network and allow the forwarding of data packets utilizing their MAC addresses.

A network switch with its various ports

By creating collision domains for each port, switches effectively mitigate collisions and congestion on the network. Additionally, switches are capable of configuring VLANs (Virtual LANs) to establish logical groups of devices on a network.


Bridges are also a type of networking device that operates at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. Their primary role is to connect segments within a network and enable the forwarding of data packets based on their corresponding MAC addresses.

A black color bridge and its ports with Cisco written on top of it

Similar to switches, bridges create collision domains for each segment effectively. This will help in minimizing collisions and congestion on the network. Furthermore, bridges are equipped with filtering capabilities to discard unwanted packets or forwarding to pass desired packets.


Routers are also networking devices that operate at the network layer (layer 3) of the OSI model. The main function of the router is to connect networks and allow the forwarding of data packets based on their respective IP addresses.

A router with its ports

By creating broadcast domains for each interface, routers effectively reduce broadcast traffic on the network. Apart from that, routers use different routing protocols such as RIP (Routing Information Protocol), OSPF (Open Shortest Path First), or BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) to determine paths for transmission through routing processes.

There are many types of Routers in computer networking. Some of the common routers are:

  • Edge Routers
  • Access Routers
  • Core Routers
  • Brouters
  • Wireless Routers


Repeaters are sometimes also known as “Signal Booster”. The main function of the repeater is to regenerate an incoming signal from the sender before retransmitting it to the receiver. The layer at which it operates is the physical layer of the OSI model.

A repeater with its ports

This layer is mainly responsible for the actual transmission and reception of the data over the physical medium such as cables or fiber optics. A repeater can extend the range of the network by boosting the signal and reducing the error and loss of data. Apart from that, repeaters are also responsible for converting the data between different network signals, such as optical, wireless, or electrical signals.


Gateways are intermediary devices that usually operate at the network layer (Layer 3) of the OSI model and are responsible for connecting networks that are using different protocols or architectures. They do so by translating or converting data formats or protocols between different networks.

Image of a Gateway and its ports

A gateway is one of the important networking devices as it acts as a crucial component of any network architecture that involves multiple networks. Apart from this, Gateways can carry out various other functions such as filtering, security, routing, and encryption.


Hubs are intermediary devices that usually operate at the physical layer (Layer I) of the OSI model that connect multiple devices on a local network. Hubs function by broadcasting data to all the devices that are connected to it, regardless of their destination. Hubs can help in simplifying the wiring and installation of a LAN by providing a central point of connection. Hubs are capable of creating a single collision domain and a single broadcast domain.

Image of a Hub with  ports and an Up-link

Apart from its functions that are mentioned above, it does have some limitations, such as low security, low performance, and high collision rate.


Modems are the network devices that usually operate at the physical layer (Layer I) of the OSI model. These devices can modulate or demodulate analog signals into digital signals or vice versa.

Image of a black modem

Apart from that, with the help of modems, digital devices can communicate with one another over analog transmission media such as telephone lines or cable lines. Modems can easily connect a LAN to a WAN or the Internet.

There are different types of modems. Some of these are:

  • Optical Modem
  • Cable Modems
  • Dial Modems
  • Satellite Modems

Access Points

Access points are network devices that usually operate at the data link layer (Layer II) of the OSI model and are mainly used to bridge the wired and wireless network. In simple terms, it is a device that allows wireless-capable devices to connect to a wired network. Here, the data can be transmitted and received using radio waves or infrared signals.

An black access Point with D-Link written on it

Apart from this, an access point can also be utilized to extend the range and strength of wireless signals. Most of the time, it is used in large offices or public places that need to provide wireless access to many users or devices. Further, it can support different wireless standards and protocols, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or IoT.

Access Points are classified into 3 categories. These are:

  • Standalone access point
  • Multifunction access point
  • Controlled access point


NIC stands for Network Interface Card and operates at the data link layer (Layer II) of the OSI model. It is a hardware component that is responsible for enabling a device to connect to a network. A NIC also has one or more ports that allow different types of cables or wireless signals to connect to the network.

A Gigabit Ethernet NIC with an Ethetney port and PCI Connection

NIC further provides a physical interface for data transmission and reception purposes. Apart from that, it also has a unique MAC address that identifies the device in a network.

Some of the major tasks performed by NIC are data transfer, network traffic engineering, and interrupt support.


A firewall is an intermediary device that operates at various layers of the OSI Model depending on its type. It can be either hardware or software, and its main purpose is to protect the network from any unauthorized access or malicious attacks by enforcing policies or rules.

A firewall with its ports and Sonicwall written on it.

Now, the question that arises is how these attacks can be stopped. All malicious activities can be controlled via a firewall as it can block or allow packets based on their source, destination address, port number, or protocol type.

Some of the security functions carried out by firewalls are:

  • Encryption
  • Authentication
  • Logging
  • Auditing

There are various types of firewalls. Some of these are:

  • Proxy firewall
  • Stateful inspection firewall
  • Unified threat management (UTM) firewall
  • Next-generation firewall (NGFW)
  • Threat-focused NGFW

These are the various networking devices mainly used in Computer Networks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is network devices and examples?

Network devices are hardware components that connect computers and other devices in a network. Examples are routers, switches, hubs, modems, firewalls, NICs, and many others.

Q2. What type of devices are used in networks?

There are various types of devices used in networks; some of the most common are hubs, switches, routers, bridges, gateways, and many others. All these devices perform certain functions as per the requirement of the network or the system.

Q3. What are the 8 types of network?

The 8 types of networks are:

  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • System-Area Network
  • Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
  • Wide Area Network (WAN)
  • Campus Area Network (CAN)
  • Personal Area Network (PAN)
  • Storage-Area Network (SAN)

Q4. What is computer network and its devices?

A computer network is nothing but a system of interconnected devices that can communicate and share data. Some of the devices that are used are routers, switches, hubs, and firewalls. These devices perform different functions in order to enable network connectivity and security.


Network devices are essential components of computer networks that are mainly used to enable communication as well as data transfer between different devices in a network. Different computer network devices are utilized, and they perform different functions at different layers of the network model. In this blog, we have explained what are network devices, and their purpose, and discussed different types of network devices in computer networks.

Recent Blog Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram