Access layer definition
In networks and operating systems built in layers, the access layer allows end users to connect the network. The connected devices, such as computers, smartphones, or printers, can then discover each other and exchange data. Various services and security policies are also set up and applied at this networking layer.
See also: network layer
Access layer components
- Wireless access points (WAPs) provide a point of entry into a network. If you’ve ever connected a laptop or smartphone to Wi-Fi, you’ve used a WAP. They let wireless devices connect to a wired network.
- Routers are like the post office of the network. They determine the best path for data to travel. If you have an internet connection at home, you probably also have a router that connects your home network to your internet service provider.
- A switch is a device that connects multiple devices on a network and directs the flow of data between them. It’s like a traffic director, making sure that data gets from its source to its destination safely and efficiently.
- Cabling and connectors are the physical components that devices use to connect to the network. They include things like Ethernet cables, fiber optic cables, and connectors that link them to devices.
These are some examples of what you might find at the access layer of a network. The specific components can vary depending on the specific needs and architecture of the network.