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Networking Basics

by: Vianca C. Villar | 27 Dec, 2009 17:20:45

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We may not be aware but networking is present in nearly every industry from offices, schools, establishments and even in our very homes making information available and accessible to everyone at anytime and making daily business operations possible.
Question is how does it work? How does networking allow the transfer of information from one computer to the other? Let's take a closer look and learn its basics.
Networking is described as the process of connecting two or more and even multiple computers or devices for data sharing. It uses a mix of computer hardware and software to run. But what makes up a network? Let's find out.

Network Coverage
A network is designed according to the geographical area it covers. It can travel across one home or can cut boundaries serving cities, countries and all over the world. It can be categorized as a local area network (LAN) making networking possible for a group of computers usually housed within the same building such as offices, schools and homes. It allows sharing of computer applications, files and printers.
Conversely, a wide area network (WAN) serves a larger scope as in cities, provinces and countries. A WAN connects smaller networks like local area networks (LANs).

Network Models
Networks either have the client-server and peer-to-peer designs. The client-server supports a huge centralized mainframe or server that stores e-mails, web programs, files and applications. This set-up is common to businesses. On the other hand, peer-to-peer networks have computers catering to the same functions, found in homes.
In comparison, peer to peer networks provide flexibility in growing the system that handles a vast number of clients. While, client-server networks is advantageous in keeping information protected.

A topology is referred to as the network's layout or structure in terms of data flow. Also, it can be described as the network's shape which has the following basic types: Bus, uses one common conduit for all devices; Ring, each device has exactly two neighbors for the purpose of data communication that travels through a ring in the same direction either clockwise" or "counterclockwise"; star, has a central connection called a hub linked to an Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Ethernet to facilitate flow of information; tree, consists of multiple star topologies connected to a hub and mesh, uses routes in data transmission. Compared to the rest of the topologies it is not limited to one but can take several directions from information source to destination.

Network Protocols
Networking also has its communication language used by computers in transmitting data called the protocol. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) are network protocols commonly used together making TCP/IP the standard terminology referring to either or both of them.

Switches and Routers
Switches and routers are essential components of networking for it permits the exchange of information between two or more computers. and devices. The switch acts as the controller allowing these devices to share data and talk to each other. Whilst, a router ties together multiple networks together by analyzing the data sent changing its package before resending it to another network. Basic routers include Firewall, Virtual Private Network (VPN) and IP Phone Network.

Wired and Wireless Networking
Of course, who would miss this networking feature? Once you have set-up your computer and connected other devices into switches and routers for the purpose of exchanging information this is considered wired otherwise, it's called wireless.
It wouldn't hurt knowing a thing or two about the procedures involved data sharing called networking. Learning its basic concepts and applications will help you better understand the process.

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