The network devices that people are most familiar with are called end devices, or hosts. These devices form the interface between users and the underlying communication network.

Some examples of end devices are:

A host device is either the source or destination of a message transmitted over the network, as shown in the animation. In order to distinguish one host from another, each host on a network is identified by an address. When a host initiates communication, it uses the address of the destination host to specify where the message should be sent.