When conveying complex information such as displaying all the devices and medium in a large internetwork, it is helpful to use visual representations. A diagram provides an easy way to understand the way the devices in a large network are connected. Such a diagram uses symbols to represent the different devices and connections that make up a network. This type of “picture” of a network is known as a topology diagram.
Like any other language, the language of networking uses a common set of symbols to represent the different end devices, network devices, and media, as shown in the figure. The ability to recognize the logical representations of the physical networking components is critical to being able to visualize the organization and operation of a network. Throughout this course and labs, you will learn both how these devices operate and how to perform basic configuration tasks on these devices.
In addition to these representations, specialized terminology is used when discussing how each of these devices and media connect to each other. Important terms to remember are:
- Network Interface Card - A NIC, or LAN adapter, provides the physical connection to the network at the PC or other host device. The media connecting the PC to the networking device plugs directly into the NIC.
- Physical Port - A connector or outlet on a networking device where the media is connected to a host or other networking device.
- Interface - Specialized ports on an internetworking device that connect to individual networks. Because routers are used to interconnect networks, the ports on a router are referred to network interfaces.