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What are some inter-networking tools?


Inter-networking means connecting different networks with the use of intermediary devices. This creates room for a complete transfer of data across communication networks that operate with the same communication methodologies.

LAN stands for local area network. This is a network founded upon a few components within a vicinity.

WAN means a wide area network, which is a network founded on a wide range of operations. The internet is the largest WAN currently in operation.

Inter-networking is concerned with linking the existing networks together when needed. The tools for this linking are discussed below.


The repeater is the simplest connection component used in a local area network (LAN). It connects segments of the same networks so the nodes can be further apart. The repeater has no intelligence and is not used to interconnect different networks. The repeater simply re-transmits the signals it receives.


A bridge is a hardware device that can pass packets from one network to another. A bridge makes the networks look like a single network to higher-level protocols or programs. A local bridge can be used to connect two networks in the same geographical area. It transfers data from one network to another network, and takes packets from the second network, and places it on the first network. Remote bridges help to connect two local area networks that are not on the same geographical area, using the same protocol.


A router can be used to connect two local area networks of different protocols. It determines the path from a node on one network to a node on another network and then provides the first connection for the path. The router operates on a routing protocol, and this helps in guiding the message along a particular path.

There are also the routing tables, which hold in store the destination and sender addresses of the messages.

When a message is routed, it now contains two addresses:

  • the address of the destination node (message end-point)
  • the address of the next node along the path

Routers ensure speed and protect against traffic loss in the event that a particular node on the network is inactive. The router is mainly used to connect one WAN to another WAN. The internet is filled with many routers.


Gateways interconnect networks that have entirely different architectures. Different architectures use different protocols, so gateways must also complete necessary conversions from one protocol to another. It operates at a higher level when compared to a bridge, repeater, or router.

A gateway provides both translation and conversion along two networks of varying protocols. It offers the greatest degree of flexibility in network inter-connectivity. A firewall is an example of a gateway. It is a security barrier between networks or network segments.


A hub is a device to which the workstations and other devices of a LAN are connected. A hub can contain wiring modules that act as repeaters to connect nodes within the same network, bridges that connect like networks, and other modules that are continually being introduced in the marketplace.

Once a hub is connected to workstations and local area networks, it is then connected to the network’s server. Hubs are needed to give all of the network devices access to the server, and to each other. Hubs are basically for a local area network connection within a LAN.


Switches are inter-networking devices that connect local area network segments together. A switch is faster than a hub in LAN connections, as it has a direct connection from device to device on the network, while hubs only broadcast the transmission and could lead to loss of transmission or collision.

Switches aid us in avoiding the collision of broadcasts that can happen in a hub. It filters traffic. Switches are used for local network connections within a LAN.



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