Basic Computer Networking Concepts

Computer Networking is basically the process of connecting two or more computers or devices, using hardware and software, so that data can be transferred and shared between them.

There are different types of networking, for instance there are LANs (local area networks) and WANs (wide area networks). The difference between these two lies in their spans. LANs are restricted to small areas, typically homes, whereas WANs are widely spread and can reach across cities, countries or even continents.

Networks may also be different in their design and layout. There are client/server networks and peer-to-peer networks. Client/server networks tend to be centralized with most functions being supported by the central/main system. Peer-to-peer networks consist of computers which all support the same functions and can interact with each other.

This being understood, client/server networks work well within businesses whereas peer-to-peer is better suited to home use.

Layouts can be the different ways in which a network is arranged to share data. Bus, ring, star, mesh is all different layouts. It all depends on how information is to travel through the network, if the data is expected to go through all the systems then bus network is suitable but if data is to be sent to single units separately then star networks or mesh networks might be better suited.

Networks are all about communication, as such there is a communication standard which is implemented by protocols, which are like rules for the operation of the network. There may be many protocols used by a network at one time, for instance, TCP/IP, the most common protocol found on the Internet and in home networks.

Networks can be wired or wireless. Most protocols for wired networks are also supported by wireless networks. Wired networks have been around for a long time as compared to wireless ones. But with advancements in technology wireless networks are fast becoming more reliable and common.

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