Introduction to Computer Networking


Overview of Networks



A computer network can be two computers connected:


A computer network can also consist of, and is usually made for, more than two computers:


Characteristics of a Computer Network

The primary purpose of a computer network is to share resources:

  • You can play a CD music from one computer while sitting on another computer
  • You may have a computer that doesnít have a DVD or BluRay (BD) player. In this case, you can place a movie disc (DVD or BD) on the computer that has the player, and then view the movie on a computer that lacks the player
  • You may have a computer with a CD/DVD/BD writer or a backup system but the other computer(s) doesnít (don't) have it. In this case, you can burn discs or make backups on a computer that has one of these but using data from a computer that doesnít have a disc writer or a backup system
  • You can connect a printer (or a scanner, or a fax machine) to one computer and let other computers of the network print (or scan, or fax) to that printer (or scanner, or fax machine)
  • You can place a disc with pictures on one computer and let other computers access those pictures
  • You can create files and store them in one computer, then access those files from the other computer(s) connected to it

Peer-to-Peer Networking

Based on their layout (not the physical but the imagined layout, also referred to as topology), there are various types of networks. A network is referred to as peer-to-peer if most computers are similar and run workstation operating systems.

In a peer-to-peer network, each computer holds its files and resources. Other computers can access these resources but a computer that has a particular resource must be turned on for other computers to access the resource it has. For example, if a printer is connected to computer A and computer B wants to printer to that printer, computer A must be turned On.


:: Note

It may be a good idea to know a little bit about MS Windows before getting into networking.



:: Note

Donít think that you can install a (commercial) software product in one computer and use it on many computers. It doesnít work like that.


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