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In the following you will find an overview of the most common Cisco network components from the business sector.
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How does a network work?
The best-known network in the world is the Internet. And just like the Internet, a company's IT network is also structured: like a fishing net. This means that an IT network is the connection of various nodes that, viewed as a whole, form an intact network. Thus, the different nodes are connected to each other in a direct or indirect way.
The nodes in this context can be many different components. In the context of an IT network, this fundamentally means computers (clients). A connection between two computers can therefore already be described as a network, albeit a very small one, provided that the connection means that both computers can communicate with each other and exchange data packets.
Servers are another element of IT networks. Whether for data exchange or as a central or decentralized database. Communication between different computers (clients) and one or more servers is an elementary component of modern corporate networks. This model, in which all existing computers are usually connected to a server, is also called the client-server model.
But other components can also be part of a network: Printers, scanners, fax machines and similar external devices are often integrated into an in-house network. This is because an optimal utilization of such external devices can be ensured within a company. Not every computer within a company needs its own printer or fax machine. By means of an optimally designed network technology, almost all computers can be connected to any external device and control and use it.
Of course, in such a case there must be something like laws that organize the use of the external devices. Similar to the rules of the road, there are regulations within an IT network to ensure that a shared printer or fax machine is not overridden and data is lost or the network crashes.
The simplest mechanism of a network in such a case would be to block an external device when a computer is trying to control it. All other computers that try to access the external device during this time are put in a queue. Only when the external device has been released again, i.e. the current process has been completed, can the next process begin.
With a network, it is not only necessary to decide which components should become part of the system, but also how the individual components of the network should be connected to each other.
On the one hand, networks can be set up with a router or a switch. This solution, depending on the size of the network, may mean countless cables running throughout the office. In such a case, every node, i.e. every computer, every server and every external device, would have to be connected in some way to the router or switch that transports and distributes the data packets between the various components.
A more convenient and meanwhile much more common solution is to build a wireless (WLAN) network. Here, the data packets of the various components are forwarded and distributed via digital signals. This is a much more flexible option, as such a network is much easier to expand. However, not every WLAN network is suitable for every amount of data. The more data that is moved, the stronger the WLAN network has to be. And securing WLAN networks is also much more complex than with networks that run via routers or switches.
Once it is clear which components are to be part of a network and which connection type is the most suitable, there is still the question of how the network is to be structured. There are many different ways in which a network can be structured. Each variant (topology) has advantages and disadvantages. At this point, the requirements placed on a company network are particularly important.
Should only a number of computers be connected without external devices, is it a question of additional networking with the Internet or, due to a very high data volume, must rather a decentralized network be set up with sufficient independent backup options?
Only when these questions have been answered can an optimal and efficient network solution be found.