Thursday, September 21, 2006

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.
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.



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