Network Infrastructure Need To Know

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Network infrastructure is a category of information technology that is used to provide network services that allow devices to connect and communicate. This includes foundational networking hardware, software, services and facilities. The following are common examples of network infrastructure.


Routers connect devices and networks together by forwarding traffic. This is how traffic gets from one place to another on a network such as the internet.


Switches connect devices to a network by forwarding traffic. For example, the computers in an office might be connected to switches as a means of creating a local area network.


A simple type of switch that forwards all traffic to every connected device.


Network bridges create a single network from multiple networks.


Devices that provide an interface between different types of networks. Essentially translates between different types of signal and/or protocol.


Devices that make requests on behalf of clients. Often used to monitor, filter and log traffic on a corporate network.


A server is a computer that provides a service to other computers. For example, a web server that provides web pages to client devices.

Load Balancers

Devices that distribute work to servers to allow services to horizontally scale.

Reverse Proxy

A service that appears to clients to be a server that is really forwarding requests to servers. A reverse proxy may perform services such as load balancing, encryption and security.


A family of standards for networking that include various cable technologies and compatible computing devices, switches, hubs and routers.

Wireless Access Points

Hardware that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network. Typically provides a wifi service.

Optical Fiber

High capacity cables that are used to create large networks including internet backbones, global area networks, wide area networks, metropolitan area networks and campus area networks. It is also common for network endpoints to be connected with optical fiber.


A device that receives a signal and retransmits it. Often required to transmit data great distances.

Optical Amplifier

A device that is similar to a repeater for fiber optics. Increases the strength of an optical signal directly without converting to an electrical signal.


Facilities where networks connect to each other to exchange traffic.


A firewall controls network traffic based on a set of rules. A basic tool for network security.

Intrusion Detection Systems

Services that monitor network traffic for malicious activity or policy violations.

Intrusion Prevention Systems

Services that monitor network traffic to detect and prevent vulnerability exploits.

Identity & Access Management

Platforms for managing authorization and authentication.

Key Management

Tools for managing encryption keys.

Certificate Authority

Services that publish certificates that describe organizations and their public encryption keys. Basic infrastructure for encryption on the internet such as SSL and TLS.


The domain name system, or DNS, is a global distributed system for translating domain names to IP addresses.


Dynamic host configuration protocol, or DHCP, is a service that automatically assigns IP addresses to devices.


Simple mail transfer protocol, or SMTP, is a type of service that delivers email.


Technologies for voice communications over internet protocol. For example, software that allows you to make long distance phone calls using an internet connection.


Virtual private network, or VPN, are services for securely connecting to a private network over an untrusted network such as the internet. For example, VPN software that allows an employee to connect to an office local area network from home.

Content Delivery Network

Services that allow publishers to serve content such as images and videos from a data center that is close to each user to reduce latency.

Edge Computing

Services that allow you to compute in different geographical locations to achieve scale and to compute more efficiently by processing data geographically close to clients and/or data sources.

Network Management System

Tools for operating, managing and deploying network devices.

Overview: Network Infrastructure
DefinitionA category of information technology that is used to provide network services that allow devices to connect and communicate.
Related ConceptsNetworking »Information Technology »Internet »Local Area Network »Proxies »Server »

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