network front end

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network front end An auxiliary processor or system attached to another, usually larger, computer specifically to connect that computer to a network. The goals of a network front end are to improve overall performance by doing network-related tasks that would be expensive on the main computer, and to convert the standard interfaces and protocols used by the external network into a form better suited to the local system's internal operation (and vice versa). A network front end may also be used to multiplex a single network interface among several computers, in which case the network front end may be considered a gateway or bridge.