What Is Network?
A network comprises of a system of devices interconnected in a way that they can communicate using protocols or what is known as common standards. The devices communicate so that they can exchange resources and services, for example, files and printers. In a network, devices may include computers, mainframes, servers, network devices and peripherals like routers and printers. A good example of a network may be said to be the internet. Millions of people are connected through the internet. A network can be as simple as two computers connected together using a cable whereby they exchange and share data between them. It can also be a complex system like more than two computers connected together using a switch or a hub.
Purposes of a Network:
The scale of a network may vary depending on the systems comprising it. It can be a single PC that shares out peripherals to something like a data center located elsewhere. The purposes of a network are such as communication, sharing hardware, sharing the date, and sharing software. For example, you can have communications like instant messaging, email, and chat rooms that allow people to communicate. There is shared hardware like input devices or printers. Shared storage devices are used to share information or data among users. In addition, a network allows sharing of software where applications are run on remote computers.
Common Types of Network:
Two common types of network are the LAN referring to Local Area Network and the WAN that refers to Wide Area Network. Early network networks where such as those of the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) of the U.S. military and the reservation system known as the Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment (SABRE) designed for commercial airline reservation.
LANs tend to connect networks within larger geographic locations, for example, you may have a connection between somewhere like Florida to another location like Japan. Such global networks may be connected using satellite uplinks or dedicated transoceanic cabling. You may have two users’ located far apart holding teleconferences in real time using workstations that are equipped with networks.
WAN, on the other hand, is pretty complex. It uses bridges, multiplexers, and routers to link local and metropolitan network to communication networks such as the internet. Looking at it, WAN may not appear to be different from LAN; however, there is a difference.
In a network, computers connected may be categorized as workstations or servers. Although servers are not used by people directly, they serve to provide services to other computers and users within the network. For example, servers offer software hosting, printing, faxing, file storage or sharing, data storage, messaging, and complete access control for the resources of the network.
Workstations have a person who interacts with the network using the station. Traditionally, workstations would be considered a desktop that comprises parts like a computer, mouse, display, keywords, or a laptop that has integrated display, touchpad, and keyboard. The definition of a workstation is, however, changing with advancements in computers. For example, the tablet computer and touchscreen gadgets such as the iPhone and iPad are now part of the network devices and they utilize network services.