Components of
Extending a LAN
The following are ways to extend a Local Area Network (LAN).


Repeater
- the main purpose of a repeater is to extend the length of a network beyond its normal cable length. A repeater works like an
amplifier to increase or boost the signal to allow transmissions over longer distances. Repeaters are used to connect network segments
(groups of computers on the same network). They can also be used to connect segments composed of different media (for instance, a
ThinNet segment to a fiberoptic segment.

Bridges - bridges work like repeaters, but offer additional advantages. They can isolate network problems or traffic. Should any problems
occur within one segment, the bridge will isolate that segment and not effect other segments on the network, thereby reducing the load on
the network as a whole. Bridges can also link segments that are not alike (such as Ethernet and token-ring).

Routers - routers provide interconnectivity between like and unlike devices on the LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area
Network). Routers work like bridges, but can connect networks using different protocols. Routers also have the ability to select the best
route from one network to another network based on traffic load. Routers are generally used to create a WAN and connect dissimilar
networks.

Gateways - gateways provide all the connectivity of, and even greater functionality than routers and bridges. A gateway usually resides on
a dedicated computer that acts as a translator between two completely dissimilar systems or applications. Because gateways are both
translators and routers, they tend to be slower than bridges and routers. Gateways also provide access to special services such as e-mail
or fax functions.  


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