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What is a Computer Network

A network is any collection of independent computers that communicate with one another over a shared network medium. A computer network is a collection of two or more connected computers. When these computers are joined in a network, people can share files and peripherals such as modems, printers, tape backup drives, or CD-ROM drives. When networks at multiple locations are connected using services available from phone companies, people can send e-mail, share links to the global Internet, or conduct video conferences in real time with other remote users. When a network becomes open sourced it can be managed properly with online collaboration software. As companies rely on applications like electronic mail and database management for core business operations, computer networking becomes increasingly more important.
Every network includes:

At least two computers Server or Client workstation.

Networking Interface Card's (NIC)

A connection medium, usually a wire or cable, although wireless communication between networked computers and peripherals is also possible.

Network Operating system software, such as Microsoft Windows NT or 2000, Novell NetWare, Unix and Linux.

Types of Networks:

LANs (Local Area Networks)

WANs (Wide Area Networks)

MANs (Metropolitan area Networks)

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

LANs (Local Area Networks) :

A network is any collection of independent computers that communicate with one another over a shared network medium. LANs are networks usually confined to a geographic area, such as a single building or a college campus. LANs can be small, linking as few as three computers, but often link hundreds of computers used by thousands of people. The development of standard networking protocols and media has resulted in worldwide proliferation of LANs throughout business and educational organizations.

WANs (Wide Area Networks)

Wide area networking combines multiple LANs that are geographically separate. This is accomplished by connecting the different LANs using services such as dedicated leased phone lines, dial-up phone lines (both synchronous and asynchronous), satellite links, and data packet carrier services. Wide area networking can be as simple as a modem and remote access server for employees to dial into, or it can be as complex as hundreds of branch offices globally linked using special routing protocols and filters to minimize the expense of sending data sent over vast distances.


The Internet is a system of linked networks that are worldwide in scope and facilitate data communication services such as remote login, file transfer, electronic mail, the World Wide Web and newsgroups.With the meteoric rise in demand for connectivity, the Internet has become a communications highway for millions of users. The Internet was initially restricted to military and academic institutions, but now it is a full-fledged conduit for any and all forms of information and commerce. Internet websites now provide personal, educational, political and economic resources to every corner of the planet.


With the advancements made in browser-based software for the Internet, many private organizations are implementing intranets. An intranet is a private network utilizing Internet-type tools, but available only within that organization. For large organizations, an intranet provides an easy access mode to corporate information for employees.

MANs (Metropolitan area Networks)

The refers to a network of computers with in a City.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

VPN uses a technique known as tunneling to transfer data securely on the Internet to a remote access server on your workplace network. Using a VPN helps you save money by using the public Internet instead of making long–distance phone calls to connect securely with your private network. There are two ways to create a VPN connection, by dialing an Internet service provider (ISP), or connecting directly to Internet.

Categories of Network:

Network can be divided in to two main categories:


Server – based.

In peer-to-peer networking there are no dedicated servers or hierarchy among the computers. All of the computers are equal and therefore known as peers. Normally each computer serves as Client/Server and there is no one assigned to be an administrator responsible for the entire network.
Peer-to-peer networks are good choices for needs of small organizations where the users are allocated in the same general area, security is not an issue and the organization and the network will have limited growth within the foreseeable future
The term Client/server refers to the concept of sharing the work involved in processing data between the client computer and the most powerful server computer.

The client/server network is the most efficient way to provide:

Databases and management of applications such as Spreadsheets, Accounting, Communications and Document management.

Network management.

Centralized file storage.

The client/server model is basically an implementation of distributed or cooperative processing. At the heart of the model is the concept of splitting application functions between a client and a server processor. The division of labor between the different processors enables the application designer to place an application function on the processor that is most appropriate for that function. This lets the software designer optimize the use of processors--providing the greatest possible return on investment for the hardware.

Client/server application design also lets the application provider mask the actual location of application function. The user often does not know where a specific operation is executing. The entire function may execute in either the PC or server, or the function may be split between them. This masking of application function locations enables system implementers to upgrade portions of a system over time with a minimum disruption of application operations, while protecting the investment in existing hardware and software.

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