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In "communication 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 "active 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 network nodes[edit]

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 are at least "data link layer devices) must have a "network address, typically one for each "network interface controller it possesses. Examples are computers, packet switches, "xDSL modems (with Ethernet interface) and wireless LAN access points. Note that a hub constitutes a physical network node, but does not constitute a LAN network node, since a hubbed network logically is a "bus network. Analogously, a repeater or PSTN modem (with serial interface) is a physical network node but not a LAN node in this sense.["citation needed]["clarification 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.

Telecommunication network nodes[edit]

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 system nodes[edit]

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.[2]

End node in cloud computing[edit]

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 / 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[edit]


  1. ^ "Node". Encarta. "Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. 
  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". 
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