Difference between Hardware and Networking

In a computing system, hardware and networking are two important components. Hardware refers to the physical components of a computer system, whereas networking refers to connecting two or more computers together to communicate and share resources.

In this article, we will discuss all the important differences between hardware and networking. But before discussing the differences, let us first have a look into their basics.

What is Hardware?

The physical components of a computer system are called hardware. Therefore, CPU, CPU cabinet, motherboard, keyboard, power supply, mouse, monitor, etc. are examples of hardware.

Hardware can be of two types, namely internal hardware and external hardware. Internal hardware are the hardware components of a device which are placed inside the case or body of the device. For example, motherboard, CPU, RAM, ROM, etc. are examples of internal hardware. On the other hand, external hardware are the hardware components of the computer which are placed outside the computer case and are usually connected through cables, like monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. Basically, hardware forms the basic Skeleton of a computer or any other electronic device.

What is Networking?

The process of connecting multiple computers together to communicate and share resources with each other is referred to as networking.

Networking of computers require several different types of hardware and software components like cables, hubs, routers, switches, communication protocols, network architecture, etc.

Computers connected in a network can shares data and resources like files, printers, scanners, etc. Therefore, in the field of computing, networking increases the efficiency and performance. Also, it reduces the need of addition resources for individual systems and hence the cost.

In modern computing environment, networking has become an essential component to increase performance, productivity, and efficiency.

After getting insights into the basics of hardware and networking, let us understand their important differences.

Difference between Hardware and Networking

The following table highlights all the important differences between hardware and networking:





Any physical parts of a computer system or other electronic device are called hardware.

The process of connecting two or more computers together to communicate and share resources with each other is called networking.

Main function

The main function of hardware is to perform operations according to instructions.

The main function of networking is to join multiple computers together.


Hardware is made up of components like circuit elements, wires, resistors, capacitors, semiconductor chips, etc.

The major components of networking are networking devices like hub, router, etc., communication protocols, communication channels, etc.


Hardware is design, installed, and repaired by hardware engineers.

Networking is performed by network engineers.


The compatibility of hardware is dependent on the physical architecture of the system.

The compatible of networking depends on the networking devices and communication protocols.


Hardware is physically installed to a system.

Networking involves installation of both hardware and software components.


Hardware cost is only for the physical component.

Networking is often expensive than hardware, as it involves cost of hardware, software, etc.


Hardware components can be upgraded by replacing them with new components of higher capability.

The upgradation of networking involves replacing hardware devices, updating software, adding new communication protocols, etc.


Examples of hardware are CPU, motherboard, RAM, ROM, HDD, etc.

Examples of networking are LAN (Local Area Network), Internet, Intranet, etc.


In computing systems, both hardware and networking are the essential components that allow users to operate and connect computer systems together to communicate and share resources with each other.

The most significant difference between hardware and networking is in their function, i.e., hardware is any physical component of a system that performs an operation, while networking is a way of connecting several computers together for sharing data and resources with each other.

Updated on: 16-May-2023


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