Node (networking)

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In telecommunications networks, a node (Latin nodus, ‘knot’) is either a redistribution point or a communication endpoint. The definition of a node depends on the network and protocol layer referred to. A physical network node is an electronic device that is attached to a network, and is capable of creating, receiving, or transmitting information over a communications channel. [1] A passive distribution point such as a distribution frame or patch panel is consequently not a node.


Computer networks

In data communication, a physical network node may either be data communication equipment (DCE) such as a modem, hub, bridge or switch; or data terminal equipment (DTE) such as a digital telephone handset, a printer or a host computer.

If the network in question is a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN), every LAN or WAN node that participates on the data link layer must have a network address, typically one for each network interface controller it possesses. Examples are computers, xDSL modems (with Ethernet interface) and wireless LAN access points. Equipment, such as a hub, repeater or PSTN modem with serial interface, that operates only below the data link layer does not require a network address.[ citation needed ]

If the network in question is the Internet or an intranet, many physical network nodes are host computers, also known as Internet nodes, identified by an IP address, and all hosts are physical network nodes. However, some data-link-layer devices such as switches, bridges and wireless access points do not have an IP host address (except sometimes for administrative purposes), and are not considered to be Internet nodes or hosts, but as physical network nodes and LAN nodes.


In the fixed telephone network, a node may be a public or private telephone exchange, a remote concentrator or a computer providing some intelligent network service. In cellular communication, switching points and databases such as the Base station controller, Home Location Register, Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) and Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) are examples of nodes. Cellular network base stations are not considered to be nodes in this context.

In cable television systems (CATV), this term has assumed a broader context and is generally associated with a fiber optic node. This can be defined as those homes or businesses within a specific geographic area that are served from a common fiber optic receiver. A fiber optic node is generally described in terms of the number of "homes passed" that are served by that specific fiber node.

Distributed systems

If the network in question is a distributed system, the nodes are clients, servers or peers. A peer may sometimes serve as client, sometimes server. In a peer-to-peer or overlay network, nodes that actively route data for the other networked devices as well as themselves are called supernodes.

Distributed systems may sometimes use virtual nodes so that the system is not oblivious to the heterogeneity of the nodes. This issue is addressed with special algorithms, like consistent hashing, as it is the case in Amazon's Dynamo. [2]

Within a vast computer network, the individual computers on the periphery of the network, those that do not also connect other networks, and those that often connect transiently to one or more clouds are called end nodes. Typically, within the cloud computing construct, the individual user or customer computer that connects into one well-managed cloud is called an end node. Since these computers are a part of the network yet unmanaged by the cloud's host, they present significant risks to the entire cloud. This is called the end node problem. [3] There are several means to remedy this problem but all require instilling trust in the end node computer. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Ethernet Computer networking technology

Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies commonly used in local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN) and wide area networks (WAN). It was commercially introduced in 1980 and first standardized in 1983 as IEEE 802.3. Ethernet has since retained a good deal of backward compatibility and has been refined to support higher bit rates, a greater number of nodes, and longer link distances. Over time, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies such as Token Ring, FDDI and ARCNET.

In computer networking, Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) is a Network communications protocol between two routers directly without any host or any other networking in between. It can provide connection authentication, transmission encryption, and compression.

Wide area network Computer network that connects devices across a large distance and area

A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that extends over a large geographical area for the primary purpose of computer networking. Wide area networks are often established with leased telecommunication circuits.

Digital subscriber line is a family of technologies that are used to transmit digital data over telephone lines. In telecommunications marketing, the term DSL is widely understood to mean asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), the most commonly installed DSL technology, for Internet access.

Network topology Arrangement of the various elements of a computer network; topological structure of a network and may be depicted physically or logically

Network topology is the arrangement of the elements of a communication network. Network topology can be used to define or describe the arrangement of various types of telecommunication networks, including command and control radio networks, industrial fieldbusses and computer networks.

Data transmission is the transfer of data over a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communication channel. Examples of such channels are copper wires, optical fibers, wireless communication channels, storage media and computer buses. The data are represented as an electromagnetic signal, such as an electrical voltage, radiowave, microwave, or infrared signal.

X.25 ITU-T Recommendation

X.25 is an ITU-T standard protocol suite for packet-switched data communication in wide area networks (WAN). It was originally defined by the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee in a series of drafts and finalized in a publication known as The Orange Book in 1976.

Cable modem networking device

A cable modem is a type of network bridge that provides bi-directional data communication via radio frequency channels on a hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC), radio frequency over glass (RFoG) and coaxial cable infrastructure. Cable modems are primarily used to deliver broadband Internet access in the form of cable Internet, taking advantage of the high bandwidth of a HFC and RFoG network. They are commonly deployed in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

A virtual LAN (VLAN) is any broadcast domain that is partitioned and isolated in a computer network at the data link layer. LAN is the abbreviation for local area network and in this context virtual refers to a physical object recreated and altered by additional logic. VLANs work by applying tags to network frames and handling these tags in networking systems – creating the appearance and functionality of network traffic that is physically on a single network but acts as if it is split between separate networks. In this way, VLANs can keep network applications separate despite being connected to the same physical network, and without requiring multiple sets of cabling and networking devices to be deployed.

In the IEEE 802 reference model of computer networking, the logical link control (LLC) data communication protocol layer is the upper sublayer of the data link layer of the seven-layer OSI model. The LLC sublayer acts as an interface between the media access control (MAC) sublayer and the network layer.

The data link layer, or layer 2, is the second layer of the seven-layer OSI model of computer networking. This layer is the protocol layer that transfers data between nodes on a network segment across the physical layer. The data link layer provides the functional and procedural means to transfer data between network entities and might provide the means to detect and possibly correct errors that may occur in the physical layer.

Network interface controller hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network

A network interface controller is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network.

Internet access Individual connection to the internet

Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the Internet using computer terminals, computers, and other devices; and to access services such as email and the World Wide Web. Internet access is sold by Internet service providers (ISPs) delivering connectivity at a wide range of data transfer rates via various networking technologies. Many organizations, including a growing number of municipal entities, also provide cost-free wireless access and landlines.

In telecommunications, a point-to-point connection refers to a communications connection between two communication endpoints or nodes. An example is a telephone call, in which one telephone is connected with one other, and what is said by one caller can only be heard by the other. This is contrasted with a point-to-multipoint or broadcast connection, in which many nodes can receive information transmitted by one node. Other examples of point-to-point communications links are leased lines and microwave radio relay.

An overlay network is a computer network that is layered on top of another network.

Link aggregation computer networking technology to increase throughput by using multiple connections in parallel

In computer networking, the term link aggregation refers to various methods of combining (aggregating) multiple network connections in parallel in order to increase throughput beyond what a single connection could sustain, and to provide redundancy in case one of the links should fail. A link aggregation group (LAG) is the collection of physical ports combined together.

Home network

A home network or home area network (HAN) is a type of computer network that facilitates communication among devices within the close vicinity of a home. Devices capable of participating in this network, for example, smart devices such as network printers and handheld mobile computers, often gain enhanced emergent capabilities through their ability to interact. These additional capabilities can be used to increase the quality of life inside the home in a variety of ways, such as automation of repetitive tasks, increased personal productivity, enhanced home security, and easier access to entertainment.

Computer network Network that allows computers to share resources and communicate with each other

A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the network nodes. The interconnections between nodes are formed from a broad spectrum of telecommunication network technologies, based on physically wired, optical, and wireless radio-frequency methods that may be arranged in a variety of network topologies.

A network host is a computer or other device connected to a computer network. A host may work as a server offering information resources, services, and applications to users or other hosts on the network. Hosts are assigned at least one network address.


  1. "Node". Encarta. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  2. "Dynamo: Amazon's Highly Available Key-value Store: 4.2 Partitioning Algorithm" (PDF). All things distributed. Retrieved 2011-03-17. the basic algorithm is oblivious to the heterogeneity in the performance of nodes. To address these issues, Dynamo uses a variant of consistent hashing: instead of mapping a node to a single point in the circle, each node gets assigned to multiple points in the ring. To this end, Dynamo uses the concept of “virtual nodes”. A virtual node looks like a single node in the system, but each node can be responsible for more than one virtual node. Effectively, when a new node is added to the system, it is assigned multiple positions (henceforth, “tokens”) in the ring.
  3. David D. Clark (April 2009), Architecture from the top down , retrieved 2017-05-14
  4. "LPS-Public". Archived from the original on 2011-01-29.