Hardware and Networking

Hardware and networking protocols are integral parts of modern computer systems, and their quality can have a dramatic effect on system performance.

Signing up for a hardware and networking course can help you understand the various components of a computer and develop troubleshooting techniques, while simultaneously expanding your career opportunities in IT.


Servers provide more processing power and can handle multiple data transmissions simultaneously, serving up centralized storage solutions or hosting content-heavy websites, for instance.

Servers administer network resources by hosting application back ends that user client devices (computer programs running within web browsers) in the network can connect to and run without installing copies on their own computers. Common examples of application back ends services include email, web, FTP and DNS services.

Servers are designed for 24/7 operation and feature hardware redundancy such as RAID disk systems and error-correcting memory. Hot swappability enables technicians to replace components while the server remains online, and large fans and air conditioning units help prevent overheating while some even feature their own electrical substations for backup power supplies in case of power outages.


Workstations are computer designed specifically to suit one person, with powerful graphics capabilities and large storage capacities. Workstations are ideal for users working on processor-intensive projects like video editing, audio production, architecture design or CAD drafting.

Workstations use GPUs designed specifically for graphics processing and include more memory than desktops for running software applications. Their spacious interiors make installing expansion cards or hard drives simple, and many come equipped with error-correcting code (ECC) memory for improved reliability. Professional workflows today demand reliable systems capable of handling demanding tasks without interruption; ISV certification can ensure out-of-the-box reliability and optimized performance of complex software apps – essential features when your projects rely on reliable systems for success.


Sending data online involves breaking it up into small packets known as “data packets.” Each data packet carries vital information, including its destination address. Routers are the hardware that directs these packets to their proper destinations based on layer 3 of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model; small home and office routers usually connect computers within their local network while larger routers connect directly with ISP networks or core routers that form the Internet backbone.

A router uses its routing tables to determine the optimal path for packets traveling between networks. Once determined, it transmits them according to these instructions and transmits any additional ones that come its way. Some routers act as DHCP servers to make network setup simpler for end-user devices while other family-oriented ones provide timers and content blocking features for specific devices.


Switches are networking hardware that connect devices in a network. They use packet switching to receive and forward data flowing among networked devices; networked devices communicate using streams of 1s and 0s that are then translated into packets consisting of both header information and payload content.

Each time a device sends a packet, a switch reads its header which contains its MAC address (which is stored on its network-interface card attached to an Ethernet cable). Next, it matches outgoing packets against those coming in and advances them toward their destinations.

Simple switches allow Ethernet devices to communicate on one LAN; more advanced switches support virtual LANs and Ethernet VPN-virtual eXtensible LANs (EVPN-VXLAN), providing support for logical segmentation.


Firewalls act as a protective measure to separate devices within a network from unauthorised outsiders and enforce security policies that determine which incoming and outgoing data can pass through. They can either be hardware or software based, with each having different security restrictions which determine the data flow in and out.

A packet-filtering firewall inspects each individual data packet based on its source and destination IP addresses and port numbers, filtering incoming connections but making them easy to bypass due to inspecting only individual packets instead of tracking accepted connections.

Stateful multi-layer inspection firewalls offer enhanced security as they monitor established connections while also inspecting each data packet based on its contents and an administrator-set set of rules. While more costly than simple packet filtering models, stateful multi-layer inspection firewalls can effectively counter Distributed Denial of Service attacks and detect Distributed Denial of Service attacks that target larger networks.

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