Image Credit: Hirschmann, A BELDEN BRAND
Networking repeaters regenerate incoming electrical, wireless, or optical signals to preserve signal integrity and extend the distance over which data can travel. In wired networks, they connect segments of cables and strengthen incoming electrical signals to reduce or eliminate attenuation. Repeaters are also used to extend the range of wireless networks and fiber optic communications systems.
How Network Repeaters Work
Networking repeaters use various retiming and amplification techniques for signal regeneration. In Ethernet networks, they also use partitioning to prevent the propagation of faults from one network segment to the entire network. In fiber optic communications, repeaters regenerate optical signals by converting them to electrical signals that, in turn, are reprocessed into optical signals for transmission.
This diagram depicts an Ethernet network with a 10 Base-5 segment and repeaters that connect to hubs.
Image Credit: Mazza Networks
Types of Network Repeaters
The GlobalSpec SpecSearch database allows industrial buyers to select networking repeaters that are LAN, MAN, or WAN capable. These devices are available as chips, boards, and stand-alone modules, and may support wireless communications and/or IP telephony. When selecting products, however, buyers must also consider supported network protocols and interface types.
Product and Performance Specifications
Network protocols specify the attributes of data communications and, in some cases, the hardware requirements for repeaters. These devices are equipped with one or more ports whose type supports the use of a specific cable type and/or connector. For example, ISDN networking repeaters use either an S/T interface or a U interface.
Features and Applications
Network administrators can select network repeaters with LED lights that indicate the status of the device and/or individual ports. Some of this networking equipment is stackable or rack-mounted to conserve space or fit into a standard 19" equipment rack. Hardened networking repeaters that can withstand high temperatures are used outside of computer rooms.
Related Products & Services
Network firewalls protect computer networks against unauthorized use or attack. They permit or deny access to private network devices and applications, and represent an important part of an organization's overall security policy. Firewalls may be software applications, hardware devices (such as routers), or a combination of both. They include turnkey products that are relatively easy to install as well as complex, multi-layer installations that require the expertise of a certified network administrator.
Network gateways interconnect networks with different, incompatible communication protocols. They perform a Layer-7 protocol-conversion to translate one set of protocols into another (for example, from TCP/IP to SNA or from TCP/IP to X.25).
Network hubs provide a central location for attaching wires to workstations. Often, these hardware devices include a network switch that controls how and where data is forwarded.
Network routers are protocol-dependent devices that connect subnetworks, or that break down a large network into smaller subnetworks.
Network switches connect network devices to host computers and allow a large number of devices to share a limited number of ports. They increase network capacity and speed by examining and filtering data packets. Switches also regenerate forwarded packets, reducing collision rates and permitting the use of additional nodes.
Network transceivers connect nodes and send and receive signals. In Ethernet networks, they are called medium access units (MAU).
VoIP and IP Telephony
VoIP and IP telephony allows PC users to make phone calls over the Internet or other packet networks via gateways and standard telephones.