Computer Networking Basics
By Stephen Bucaro
The Function of a Network
A basic network consists of two or more computers connected to each other by cable.
Computers that are connected to the network can send messages or email back and
forth, and can share data, applications, and peripherals. A peripheral is a resource
such as printer, modem, disk drive, or other hardware device. Before networks people
shared data files on floppy disks and each computer needed its own printer.
LANs WANs and MANs
A network that connects together computers in a small area such as a single building
or a floor within a building is called a local area network (LAN). A network that
connects together computers over a large geographic area, such as different cities
is called a wide area network (WAN).
There are two types of networks, peer-to-peer and server based. A peer-to-peer
network is also referred to as a workgroup. In a workgroup each user administers
their own computer. Security is implemented by setting the sharing or by setting
a password on a resource. There are typically fewer than ten computers in a
peer-to-peer network. Although it may be less expensive to implement and administer
than a server based network, the server based network has better security.
A server is a computer that is dedicated to performing one or more specialized
functions in the network. File and print servers manage users access to files and
printers. Application servers manage users access to applications. A server-based
network allows central administration of network resources and security.
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