Introduction to computer networks

Subject: Computer Basics

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Overview

Networking is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data. This note explains what a computer network and its type based on size and purpose.
Introduction to computer networks

A computer network is a set of computers connected together for the purpose of sharing resources. The most common resource shared today is connection to the Internet. Other shared resources can include a printer or a file server. Computer networks are built with a mix of computer hardware and computer software.

Types of Networks based on size

Based on the the geographic area they occupy and the number of computers that are part of that network, computer networks can be categorized into following types.

  1. Personal area network, or PAN
  2. Local area network, or LAN
  3. Metropolitan area network, or MAN
  4. Wide area network, or WAN

Personal Area Network

A personal area network, or PAN, is a computer network organized around an individual person within a single building. This could be inside a small office or residence. A typical PAN would include one or more computers, telephones, peripheral devices, video game consoles and other personal entertainment devices.

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Local Area Network

A local area network, or LAN, consists of a computer network at a single site, typically an individual office building. A LAN is very useful for sharing resources, such as data storage and printers. LANs can be built with relatively inexpensive hardware, such as hubs, network adapters and Ethernet cables.

Metropolitan Area Network

A metropolitan area network, or MAN, consists of a computer network across an entire city, college campus or small region. A MAN is larger than a LAN, which is typically limited to a single building or site. Depending on the configuration, this type of network can cover an area from several miles to tens of miles. A MAN is often used to connect several LANs together to form a bigger network. When this type of network is specifically designed for a college campus, it is sometimes referred to as a campus area network, or CAN.

Wide Area Network

A wide area network, or WAN, occupies a very large area, such as an entire country or the entire world. A WAN can contain multiple smaller networks, such as LANs or MANs. The Internet is the best-known example of a public WAN.

Types of Networks based on purpose

Though most computers and the networks they work on are general purpose, some serve a very particular purpose. Some of the different networks based on their main purpose are as follows.
    1. Storage area network, or SAN
    2. Enterprise private network, or EPN
    3. Virtual private network, or VPN

Storage area network

A Storage area network, or SAN, is a high-speed network of storage devices that also connects those storage devices with servers. It provides block-level storage that can be accessed by the applications running on any networked servers.

Enterprise private network

An enterprise private network is a computer network built by a business to interconnect its various company sites (such as production sites, offices and shops) in order to share computer resources.

Virtual private network

Virtual private network, or VPN is a network that is constructed by using public wires — usually the Internet — to connect to a private network, such as a company's internal network. There are a number of systems that enable you to create networks using the Internet as the medium for transporting data.

Things to remember
  • Networking is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data.
  • computer networks can be categorized into Personal area network, Local area network, Metropolitan area network and Wide area network.

  • Some of the different networks based on their main purpose are Storage area network, Enterprise private network and Virtual private network, or VPN
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
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Questions and Answers

A local area network (LAN) is a small network of computers that are relatively near with each other within a small area like a room, building or within a short distance through wire or wireless media. A LAN where wireless media are used is known as Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is the network of computers spread over a city through wire or wireless media. A MAN can be formed by joining two or many groups of LANs within a cities. Network of different branches of bank, college, companies etc. within a same city are examples of MAN

A wide area network (WAN) is the large network of computers in wide geographical area such as cities, districts and countries through satellite or other long range communication technologies. A WAN can formed by joining many groups of LANs and MANs. The internet and intranet are the examples of WAN

A computer network is a set of computers connected together for the purpose of sharing resources. The most common resource shared today is connection to the Internet.

There are different types of network topology they are as follows:

1. Bus Topology

In this topology, all the computers are connected in a single cable.The common cable is known as network bus. The network interface card of each computer is connected to the network bus through a T-connector. The terminators are attached at both the end of the network bus.

Advantages

  1. It is inexpensive and easy to install because all the computers in the network are attached to one single cable.
  2. The failure of one computer does not affect the performance of the rest of the networks
  3. Computers may be easily added or removed from the network.

Disadvantages

  1. If a problem arises at any point of the cable, the entire network goes down.
  2. It tends to slow down under a heavy load.
  3. In this topology, troubleshooting could be difficult.

2. Star Topology

In this topology, all the computers are connected with switch/hub.It is the most popular topology used today. In star topology, twisted pair cable is used foe joining nodes and hub. Each nodes is connected individually in the network. When any nodes data or message, they reach to the destination node through the hub/switch.

Advantages

  1. It is easy to add or remove computers from this topology.
  2. If one link fails in network, the other workstations are not affected.
  3. It is more reliable.
  4. In this topology, very high transmission rates is possible.

Disadvantages

  1. It the central switch/hub fails, the whole network goes down.
  2. Long cable length is required, since each device is directly connected to the hub/switch.
  3. It may be costly to install since long length cable is required.

3. Ring topology

In this topology, all the computers or devices are connected to each other in a closed loop by single communication cable. Data transfer takes place in one direction from one node to another around the ring. It is also called loop network.

Advantages

  1. Each computer does not have to depend on the central device as each computers controls transmission to and from itself.
  2. It has short cable connection which increases network reliability.
  3. It supports very high data transmission rate.

Disadvantages

  1. It is difficult to change network structure.
  2. If a single computer fails, at least a portion of network wont work.

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