Hub Hardware device that enables multiple connections to a computer Broadcasts all data across each connection (no routing tables) An example is a USB hub. The hub allows several USB devices to connect to a single node. The USB hub simply connects to the USB port on a computer. The price of a simple USB hub is between $10 - $20
Switch Hardware device that can connect multiple nodes together within a LAN. A switch can be used to setup a home network between devices. Operates at layer two of the OSI model using routing tables. Interprets source and destination devices and forwards data to the intended device. Consumer switches are between $25 - $30
Router Hardware device that connects multiple networks together such as local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN). The router operates at layer 3 of the OSI model. It can be used in a home network (wired or wireless) to connect to a WAN such as the Internet. The cost of consumer model router is between $80 - $200
Bridge Hardware device that connects multiple notes and reduces the amount of traffic on a LAN. Operates at layer 2 of the OSI model. Inspects data frames to determine source and destination, then forwards to the intended device if no errors are detected. A bridge can be used in a home network (wired or wireless). The cost of a consumer model is between $60 - $250
Gateway Hardware and/or software that join together two networks of different protocols. A network gateway operates at any level of the OSI model and can typically include a firewall. It uses Ethernet MAC addresses for routing. In example, a broadband router would be used as a gateway in a home network. A consumer price for a gateway would be between $90 - $150.
Firewall Hardware and/or software that prevents hacks and viruses from reaching a computer over the internet. Firewalls can be placed in each node, as well as, in the router to protect a network. A firewall inspects data packets to determine if they should be allowed in the network or node based on a set of rules and protocols. It can perform basic routing functions. An average price of a firewall software is between $35 - $70.
Wireless AP Hardware device with a network adapter and radio transmitter that functions as an access point to transmit and receive WLAN radio signals. Can be a stand alone device or part of a router. Typically connects to a wired network and broadcasts WIFI signals to other devices. Wireless APs can be used in a home network and usually follow IEEE standards. A Wireless AP would cost between $45 - $120.
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