Network Interconnection Devices

Learn how LANs, connected by intermediate network devices, work like large networks.

Network interconnection device is a widely used term for any hardware that connects different network resources. The key devices that make up a network are switches, routers, bridges, repeaters, and gateways.

All the devices have different ranges, based on network requirements and scenarios. The following are interconnection scenarios:

  • Single LAN
  • Two LANs connected to each other (LAN-LAN)
  • A LAN connected to a WAN (LAN-WAN)
  • Two LANs connected via a WAN (LAN-WAN-LAN)

To understand the various devices for network interconnection, we created the following glossary.



They are used to extend the length of the network. They were created to regenerate and amplify weak signals, thus extending the length of the network. The basic function of a repeater is to restructure and amplify the data signal up to its original level.

The important features of these devices are the following:

  1. They connect different network segments of a LAN
  2. They resend every packet they receive
  3. A repeater is a regenerator, not an amplifier
  4. Repeaters operate at the physical layer of the OSI model



A Hub is basically a multi-port repeater, it acts as a multiplexor and connects multiple cables coming from different connections. Hubs cannot filter data, so packets of data are sent to all connected devices; the collision domain of all hosts connected through the Hub remains one.

The Hubs lack intelligence to find the best path for data packets, the consequences being inefficiency and waste.



A bridge operates on the data link layer. It is a repeater with additional filtering functionality based on reading the source and destination MAC addresses. It is also used to interconnect two LANs that operate under the same protocol. It has a single input and a single output port, thus making it a 2 port device.



A switch is a multiport bridge; it is a data link layer device. The switch is very efficient; it performs error checking before forwarding packets. In other words, the switch divides the collision domain of the hosts, but the broadcast domain remains the same.



Routers link two or more different networks; these can consist of various types of LAN network segments. A router receives packets and selects the optimal route to forward the packet across the network.


Routers create a table of all addresses of the devices, and this is called a routing table. With it, the router sends a transmission from the source to the  destination using the best path. The routers work on the network level of the OSI model.



Gateways are multipurpose connection devices for creating junctions between different networks. They are capable of converting the format of the packages from one environment to match the format of another. They function as messaging agents that take data from one system, interpret the data and transfer it to another system.


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Accenture (2018). The Brave New World of Open Banking accessed September 2019.