Introduction to Networks
A network is a means of linking together two or more computers so they can:
- share information,
- use e-mail,
- share expensive resources such as a high-speed printer,
- use multi-user programs (which are less expensive per user),
- centralize some high-maintenance items.
Types of Networks
Regular PC's are connected using a network.
There isn't a server.
A combination of a connection, usually wire, cable, or wireless, as well as a special program is required. In the past networks have relied on a physical wire between the computers but "wireless" networks, or connections, are becoming increasingly popular.
A high-powered "server" is added to the network; see description
Server. A server is a faster, more powerful computer than normal specially designed to store information centrally on a network and to "serve" it out upon request to the various computers on the network. If there's a company database, it's typically stored on the server, and all the other computers on the network request information from it as needed. This is called a "multi-user" system.
terms you probably hear frequently are LAN and WAN:
LAN (Local Area Network)
Links computers in a small area, typically in one office. They are connected with wires or wireless technology.
WAN (Wide Area Network)
Links computers in a much larger area. For example, if all the computers for all the schools in one town are linked together on a network it would be a WAN. The computers are physically connected with wires; instead, telephone lines are used.
The Internet is basically a huge network on an international level; see additional details on this website by clicking here.
For more technical information on networks:
(look at the other chapters as well)