What is network infrastructure?

A network infrastructure is an interconnected group of computer systems linked by various parts of a telecommunications architecture. Specifically, this infrastructure refers to the organization of its various parts and their configuration – from individual networked computers to routers, cables, wireless access points, switches, backbones, network protocols and network access methodologies. Infrastructures can be open or closed, such as the open architecture of the Internet or the closed architecture of a private intranet. They can operate over wired or wireless network connections, or a combination of both.

A network hub.

The simplest form of network infrastructure typically consists of one or more computers, a network or Internet connection, and a hub to connect the computers to the network connection and link the various systems together. The hub only connects the computers, but does not limit the flow of data to or from any system. To control or limit access between systems and regulate the flow of information, a switch replaces the hub to create network protocols that define how systems communicate with each other. To allow the network created by these systems to communicate with others, via a network connection, a router is needed, which bridges the networks and basically provides a common language for exchanging data, according to the rules of each network.

A wireless router can be used as part of a network infrastructure.

When multiple computers in a single household share the same Internet connection, this is considered a basic form of network infrastructure, regardless of whether the computers also share information with each other. The Internet itself is a more advanced networking infrastructure where individual systems access a global network that hosts information about multiple systems and allows access using web standards and protocols, more commonly framed as web addresses, also known as URLs.

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A network infrastructure is an interconnected group of computer systems linked by various parts of a telecommunications architecture.

Office intranets are similar to the global Internet, but they operate on a closed network infrastructure accessible only by those within it. This usually consists of a central data store – one or more computers known as servers – as well as ethernet cabling, wireless access points, routers, switches, and the individual computers with access to the central data store. Individual computers connect to the network through wired or wireless access. Routers and switches determine what level of access they can have and act as traffic directors to point them to the central data store on servers. As individual computers send or receive data, routers ensure that it arrives at the proper location.

Network security is often the primary concern when building a network infrastructure. Most architectures use routers with built-in firewalls, as well as software that allows fine-tuned user access control, packet data monitoring, and strictly defined protocols. Security can also be controlled by adjusting the network share properties on individual systems, which limits the folders and files that can be seen by other users on the network.

Understanding the network infrastructure can make it much easier to locate faulty cables or other problems.

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