Depending on the type of topology used for your network, as well as the type of cabling used, your LAN may require some sort of connectivity device in order for your computers, printers and other devices to communicate with each other. But, there are also cases where you may need to extend your network or your LAN or even add additional end users, which require connectivity. Regardless of your situation, some devices serve to connect devices, while others are used to boost data transmission on the network medium. And, still, there are others that participate in determining how data traffic is to flow through the network.
Some of the specific networking hardware devices used today are hubs, repeaters, switches and routers. Repeaters, switches and routers are known as internetworking devices. If you're not familiar with the term "internetwork", it is a network of LANs where connectivity technology is used to extend a LAN far beyond its normal size. It is also a term used to describe different LANs that are connected together to form one large network.
For more information about hubs, go to What is a Hub?
For more information about repeaters, go to What is a Repeater?
For more information about bridges, go to What is a Bridge?
For more information about switches, go to What is a Switch?
For more information about routers, go to What is a Router?