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Network Components Roles and Functions | Practonet

Routers, L2 and L3 switches, Next-generation firewalls and IPS, Access points, Controllers, Endpoints, Servers

Routers

A router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet. Data sent through the internet, such as a web page or email, is in the form of data packets. A packet is typically forwarded from one router to another router through the networks that constitute an internetwork (e.g. the Internet) until it reaches its destination node.

A router is connected to two or more data lines from different IP networks.[b] When a data packet comes in on one of the lines, the router reads the network address information in the packet header to determine the ultimate destination. Then, using information in its routing table or routing policy, it directs the packet to the next network on its journey.

Cisco Routers provide ISR (Integrated Services Routers), ASR (Aggregation Services Routers) and other series for networks of all types and sizes, including branch, service providers, SMB, etc. Cisco 1861 and Cisco 2800, 3800, 2900, 3900, and 3900E Series unified communications routers communicate directly with Cisco Unified Communications Manager, allowing for the deployment of unified communications solutions that are ideal for small and medium-sized businesses, large enterprises, and service providers that offer managed network services. The Cisco 1861 and Cisco 2800, 3800, 2900, 3900, and 3900E Series Routers provide a highly flexible and scalable solution for small and medium-sized branch and regional offices.
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L2 and L3 Switches

A network switch is networking hardware that connects devices on a computer network by using packet switching to receive and forward data to the destination device. A network switch is a multiport network bridge that uses MAC addresses to forward data at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. Some switches can also forward data at the network layer (layer 3) by additionally incorporating routing functionality. Such switches are commonly known as layer-3 switches or multilayer switches.
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Next-generation firewalls and IPS

A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a part of the third generation of firewall technology, combining a traditional firewall with other network device filtering functions, such as an application firewall using in-line deep packet inspection (DPI), an intrusion prevention system (IPS). Other techniques might also be employed, such as TLS/SSL encrypted traffic inspection, website filtering, QoS/bandwidth management, antivirus inspection and third-party identity management integration (i.e. LDAP, RADIUS, Active Directory).

NGFWs offer administrators a deeper awareness of and control over individual applications, along with deeper inspection capabilities by the firewall. Administrators can create very granular "allow/deny" rules for controlling use of websites and applications in the network.
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Access point

Access point (AP), is a networking hardware device that allows other Wi-Fi devices to connect to a wired network. The AP usually connects to a router (via a wired network) as a standalone device, but it can also be an integral component of the router itself. An AP is differentiated from a hotspot, which is the physical location where Wi-Fi access to a WLAN is available.

Controllers

Network Controller is a highly available and scalable server role, and provides one application programming interface (API) that allows Network Controller to communicate with the network, and a second API that allows you to communicate with Network Controller. Network Controller communicates with network devices, services, and components by using the Southbound API. With the Southbound API, Network Controller can discover network devices, detect service configurations, and gather all of the information you need about the network. In addition, the Southbound API gives Network Controller a pathway to send information to the network infrastructure, such as configuration changes that you have made.
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Endpoints

An endpoint device is an Internet-capable computer hardware device on a TCP/IP network. The term can refer to desktop computers, laptops, smart phones, tablets, thin clients, printers or other specialized hardware such POS terminals and smart meters.

Servers

A network server is a computer designed to act as central repository and help in providing various resources like hardware access, disk space, printer access, etc,. to other computers in the network. A network server might not differ from a workstation in hardware, but the functionality it performs clearly differentiates it from other workstations. Network servers helps in simplifying the different tasks for system administrators including those centering around management.
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