A node is a point of intersection/connection within a network. In an environment where all devices are accessible through the network, these devices are all considered nodes. The concept of nodes works on several levels, but the big-picture view defines nodes as the major centers through which Internet traffic is typically routed. This usage is somewhat confusing, as these same Internet nodes are also referred to as Internet hubs.
The idea of nodes was popularized with the adoption of packet-switching theory and the concept of distributed networks. In this context, nodes were gateways that could receive, store and send information along different routes through a distributed network. Each node was given an equal standing within the network, meaning that the loss of any one node wouldn’t significantly hurt the network.
When applied to an office or personal network, however, a node is simply one of the devices that performs a particular function. As such, the loss of that node usually means the loss of function, such as the inability to use a printer.
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