A computer networking is a system for communication among two or more computers. These networks may be fixed (cabled, permanent) or temporary (as via modems).
What is a Network?
A network is simply a group of two or more Personal Computers linked together.
What Types of Networks Exist?
Many types of networks exist, but the most common types of networks are Local-Area Networks (LANs), and Wide-Area Networks (WANs). In a LAN, computers are connected together within a "local" area (for example, an office or home). In a WAN, computers are farther apart and are connected via telephone/communication lines, radio waves, or other means of connection.
Wiring up a LAN (local area network) can be very easy, or it can be very difficult – it all depends on the size of your network, and how you’re trying to go about it.
For a very small home network, you can get by without using any special equipment except the wires. If you want to use a network to share Internet access or a printer, just plug an Ethernet cable into the computers you want to network, and then use the simple networking features that are built into Windows, such as Internet Connection Sharing. This approach has many downsides, though – you’ll need an extra Ethernet card in each computer for every extra computer you connect to the network, for one.
Instead of connecting each computer to the next, it is better to simply connect all the computers to a central router. This is a very efficient way of connecting computers together, as the data you send will be quickly and easily routed to its destination: the data goes to the router, which knows which wire to send it down for it to reach the destination address, and simply sends it that way. This also allows you to turn on and off computers as you please with no ill effects, as the router is always-on.
If you want to connect more devices to the network than the four or five ports on a router will allow, then you need to get a network switch. This allows you to create a separate sector of your network especially for one group of devices. For example, you might have your computer and your printer both plugged into a switch. The computer and the printer can then communicate between themselves without the data needing to travel out onto the wider network – but if they want to send to or receive from the wider network, they can do that too.
How are Networks Categorized?
Networks are usually classified using three properties: Topology, Protocol, and Architecture. Topology specifies the geometric arrangement of the network. Common topologies are a bus, ring, and star. You can check out a figure showing the three common types of network topologies here. Protocol specifies a common set of rules and signals the computers on the network use to communicate.
Most networks use Ethernet, but some networks may use IBM's Token Ring protocol. We recommend Ethernet for both home and office networking. Architecture refers to one of the two major types of network architecture: Peer-to-peer or client/server.
In a Peer-to-Peer networking configuration, there is no server, and computers simply connect with eachother in a workgroup to share files, printers, and Internet access. This is most commonly found in home configurations, and is only practical for workgroups of a dozen or less computers. In a client/server network, there is usually an NT Domain Controller, which all of the computers log on to.
This server can provide various services, including centrally routed Internet Access, mail (including e-mail), file sharing, and printer access, as well as ensuring security across the network. This is most commonly found in corporate configurations, where network security is essential.
Now that you have a basic understanding of networks, we'll learn about the type of network most people will want to setup, a Local-Area Network.
In today’s Internet age, the corporate network is truly the
lifeblood of business. As the success of any organization becomes increasingly
intertwined and dependent on its network it is crucial to understand the latest
in networking technology.
And as device networking increases the number of things connected to networks and the Internet, rapidly making M2M (machine to machine) a reality, speed, remote management, wireless networking, reliability and the security of networked devices are all concerns that must be addressed.
We have put together the following tutorials to help provide you with a solid foundation and understanding of basic networking protocols and techniques as well as serial to Ethernet/802.11 device server technology.
WIRELESS NETWORKING BASICS
Wireless networking is simple in theory: just install a wireless network adapter in each computer and forget about drilling holes and running cable. When you deal with equipment based on the 802.11b (or Wi-Fi) standard, unfortunately, the reality often falls short of claimed specifications. Your wireless network will have a limited range - you've probably experienced a decrease in speed at a certain distance from an access point. That's why you must adjust the location and configuration of your wireless setup to obtain the best possible performance, range, and reliability. Follow expert advice and your connection will be faster across longer distances--and you'll have fewer dropped connections.
Pick the best location: The farther your wireless networked computer is from a wireless access point--and the greater the number of solid objects that stand in the way--the slower your connection will be. To optimize your network's speed and range, position your wireless access point at least a few feet above the floor and away from metal objects, particularly large appliances like refrigerators. Though most manuals for networking products tell you to position the access point in the middle of the coverage area, it's often better to identify the locations where you expect to use a computer and put the access point where it will be in a direct line of sight (or close to it) to as many of those places as possible.
Don't waste time worrying about "dead spots" if no one is likely to use a computer there. Once your wireless network is up and running, even slight changes in your wireless network card's position (say, a shift in the orientation of your laptop as you recline on the couch) may dramatically improve throughput or even restore a dropped connection.
For larger areas--or areas with many obstructions--your only option may be to shell out the cash for multiple access points. If you go this route, you'll find that wireless setup is easy: Simply make sure that the access points have identical settings. Virtually all wireless network adapters support "roaming": In areas where access point coverage overlaps, the adapter will latch on to the strongest signal.
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