What is Networking?
When you get together with your friends, you are networking.
When you go to a party and meet new people, you are networking.
When you use online media to communicate with others, you are networking.
Computer networks work along the same lines. They relate to a group of computers which are linked together, communicating and sharing information and available resources.
How Does Networking Work?
A network consists of two or more computers connected together. These may include laptop computers, desktop computers and a server, but also may encompass printers, scanners, data storage devices, fax machines and just about any other communication equipment you could think of.
Types of Networks
Just as there are different levels of groups of friends together, there are different levels of networks. The three most common are:
- Peer-to-Peer or Personal Area Network (PAN)
- Local Area Network (LAN)
- Wide Area Network (WAN)
Let’s take a look at what makes these networks different and what types of hardware they commonly use.
Peer-to-Peer or Personal Area Network (PAN)
PANs are localised groups of computers. This would be like you and your friends getting together and networking over lunch. PANs are usually found in homes, between a couple of computers and possibly a printer and scanner through the use of a switch or router.
Local Area Network (LAN)
A LAN is usually found in office spaces where the server room may be in one area and the physical computers in another area. These types of networks generally use several switches to connect computers and other devices together. This would be like a larger group of people being together at party or a conference.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
The last of the three types of networks is the WAN. This network would be similar to instant messaging with your friends or chatting with them via Skype or using Facebook. This type of network uses switches and routers to help control the flow of data and communications over a long distance. Companies that have national or international offices use WANs to keep everyone in the company connected.
In these larger, geographically spread networks, there has to be some central ‘control centre’; this is known as the “data centre” and is usually located in the server room at the head office site.
The data centre houses all of the equipment necessary to maintain smooth operation of a large network and is kept inside an air-conditioned room. It is imperative to keep this equipment in top shape.
Computer Networking for Your Own Business
If you would like a more in-depth understanding of computer networking, or need help with your network, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org