A network is simply a group of devices connected to and communicating with each other.
To design a successful office network, you must consider three critical components: security, reliability, and speed. Most every network connects to the the internet, aka “the cloud” or “the net.” Because the cloud is a accessible to the public, it is imperative to take precautions to secure your network.
The router is the device that connects the local network to the public network. This is the security device also known as “the firewall” or “the gateway.” Routers are designed using sophisticated software to filter and direct traffic within and outside of the local network. From the router, network traffic is passed through the “switch” which acts as the hub of the network. All of the devices throughout the network connect to the switch via a wired or wireless connection. Wired connections are faster and more reliable, while wireless connections offer mobility for a variety of hand held devices.
The following diagram illustrates how a firewall (router) separates your network from the Internet, providing security and reliability for both internal and external communication. The switch in the middle of the diagram serves as the hub of communication for all devices attached to your network.