In a star network, every device is directly connected to a central [[Network switch|switch]], by its own network cable.
Devices on the network communicate by sending packets of data to each other. In a star network, each packet of data is sent to the switch. The switch sends the data on to the correct device. This is called [[packet switching]].
Some networks use a [[Network hub|hub]] rather than a switch - they perform a similar job. Many [[Network modems|modems]] contain a built in switch, so a separate switch is not required.
In smaller LANs, wireless networking is often used, so the devices do not need to be connected by cables. The [[wireless access point]] performs a similar function to a switch.
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