Access networks physically connect a network end system to the first edge router along the communications pathway to another end system. These systems are considered network medium through which network signals propagate.
Examples of access networks include the following medium:
- Ethernet – Provides server on the physical and link network layers.
- DSL – Digital Subscriber Line uses phone lines to carry data on top of voice. Requires a modem to separate signals at endpoints.
- Mobile Networks – 3G, 4GLTE, and now 5G are examples of wireless networks that use radio-band frequency modulation to transmit data.
- Wireless LANs (WiFi) – very similar to Mobile Networks but typically use higher-frequency transmissions and often serve as access points to the Internet.
- Sattelite – Used in areas where cable, DSL, and/or fiber are otherwise unavailable. Uses orbital hardware to transmit data; experiences significant transmission delays compared to ground-based networks.
- Fiber to the Home (FTTH) – Fiber optic path direct from a telecom’s local central office to residential customers.