Network Addressable Unit


A Network Addressable Unit (NAU) is a device or component within a network that has a unique address, allowing it to be identified and communicated with. This term is often used in the context of computer networks and can include devices such as computers, printers, routers, or any other network-connected device. NAUs are important for facilitating communication and data transmission between various devices in a network.

Key Takeaways

  1. Network Addressable Unit (NAU) is a device or component, connected to a network, capable of being individually addressed and controlled for data transfer and communication purposes.
  2. NAUs play a crucial role in simplifying network management and enhancing the efficiency of communication between different devices/systems, allowing for seamless integration and connectivity.
  3. Examples of Network Addressable Units include computers, servers, routers, switches, and other network devices with unique addresses or identifiers that enable efficient communication in a networked environment.


The term “Network Addressable Unit” (NAU) is important because it refers to a device or component on a network that has a unique address, allowing it to be identified and communicate with other devices in the network.

This concept is critical in modern networked systems, as it helps facilitate smooth and efficient data communication between various devices such as computers, servers, printers, and other equipment, ensuring seamless operation of the overall system.

With the increasing reliance on networks in today’s data-driven world, understanding and managing NAUs ensure a higher level of interoperability between devices, better performance, and streamlined troubleshooting when issues arise within the network infrastructure.


A Network Addressable Unit (NAU) serves a crucial purpose in modern communication networks by providing an identifiable and manageable component within a larger system. Its primary function is to facilitate seamless communication and information exchange between various devices and elements within the network, thereby enhancing the overall performance and efficiency of the connected systems. By using unique identifiers, known as addresses, NAUs can send and receive data packets to the designated recipients with precision and accuracy.

They play an integral role in enabling an effective collaboration between multiple devices on networks, such as LANs, WANs, and other types of interconnected systems, ultimately allowing for increased interoperability of technologies and a smooth flow of information across a diverse range of platforms. NAUs are commonly utilized across a wide range of applications, including computer networks, telecommunication systems, industrial automation, and distributed control systems, among others. They are essential components of critical infrastructures that demand constant communication, monitoring, and control, including power plants, transportation systems, and public utilities.

By employing NAUs in these complex systems, network administrators and technicians can quickly identify, assess, and troubleshoot potential problems or bottlenecks within the network. Additionally, the incorporation of NAUs in networks encourages scalability, as organizations can easily expand or reconfigure their network topology by adding or modifying individual addressable units as needed without impacting the overall network performance negatively. In summary, Network Addressable Units serve as fundamental building blocks in modern communication networks, empowering a dynamic and efficient exchange of data and information that is vital to both individuals and organizations alike.

Examples of Network Addressable Unit

A Network Addressable Unit (NAU) is a device or component that can be individually identified and accessed within a network. Here are three real-world examples:

Networked Printers: A networked printer is a NAU that, once connected to a wired or wireless network, allows multiple users within the network to send print jobs. It has an IP address assigned to it for proper communication and identification on the network.

Network Security Cameras: Network security cameras are NAUs that are connected to the network and can be accessed remotely. Users with the appropriate permissions can view real-time footage, control the camera angle (if it has PTZ features), and manage the recordings. These cameras have a unique IP address for identification and access.

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) Devices: A NAS is a standalone storage device that allows multiple users to access and share files over a network. It is also considered a NAU, as it is assigned a specific IP address that enables users to access the device and connect through protocols such as SMB (Server Message Block) or NFS (Network File System).

FAQ – Network Addressable Unit

What is a Network Addressable Unit?

A Network Addressable Unit, or NAU, refers to a device or component that can be individually accessed and managed over a network. This includes devices such as switches, routers, computers, servers, and other network-capable devices. The key feature of a NAU is that it possesses a unique address, enabling communication with other devices on the network.

What is the importance of Network Addressable Unit in a network?

Network Addressable Units play a crucial role in network communication and management. Their unique addresses facilitate data transmission and allow system administrators to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot network devices remotely. NAUs also reduce downtime, improve productivity, and enhance the overall efficiency of the network.

How do Network Addressable Units work?

NAUs communicate with each other using their unique addresses on the network. When data needs to be sent between devices, it is encapsulated in a data packet, and the destination address is included within it. The network equipment, such as switches and routers, reads the address and directs the packet to the appropriate destination.

What is the difference between a Network Addressable Unit and an IP Addressable Device?

A Network Addressable Unit is a broader term encompassing any device or component that can be addressed individually over a network, whereas IP Addressable Devices are specific types of NAUs that use the Internet Protocol (IP) as their addressing and communication foundation. While all IP Addressable Devices are NAUs, not all NAUs may use IP addresses for network communication.

How can I increase the security of my Network Addressable Units?

To improve the security of your Network Addressable Units, you should implement strong network security practices such as securing physical access to devices, using strong authentication methods, frequently updating firmware and software, monitoring network traffic for anomalies, segmenting the network, and encrypting data communications.

Related Technology Terms


  • Network Topology
  • Internet Protocol (IP) Address
  • Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
  • Router and Switches
  • Domain Name System (DNS)


Sources for More Information

  • IBM – The IBM is a leading technology company specializing in various IT and networking solutions and services. Their comprehensive library of resources offers detailed information on Network Addressable Units.
  • Techopedia – Techopedia is a source for information technology (IT) and Science, which provides easy-to-understand articles on the latest technology terms, including Network Addressable Units.
  • Network World – Network World provides the latest news and insights relating to IT, infrastructure, and networking, including information on Network Addressable Units and other related topics.
  • Cisco – Cisco is a global leader in the IT and networking industry, offering a wealth of information on networking systems and technology. Their website provides insights, guidance, and resources on Network Addressable Units and related concepts.

About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents