If a quantum computer is stabilized by fault-tolerant quantum error correction (QEC), then most of its resources (qubits and operations) are dedicated to the extraction of error information. Analysis of this process leads to a set of central requirements for candidate computing devices, in addition to the basic ones of stable qubits and controllable gates and measurements. The logical structure of the extraction process has a natural geometry and hierarchy of communication needs; a computer whose physical architecture is designed to reflect this will be able to tolerate the most noise. The relevant networks are dominated by quantum information transport, therefore to assess a computing device it is necessary to characterize its ability to transport quantum information, in addition to assessing the performance of conditional logic on nearest neighbours and the passive stability of the memory. The transport distances involved in QEC networks are estimated, and it is found that a device relying on swap operations for information transport must have those operations an order of magnitude more precise than the controlled gates of a device which can transport information at low cost.