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some references:

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), and
  • centralize some high-maintenance items.

Types of Networks

Peer-to-Peer network:

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.

Client-Server network:

A high-powered "server" is added to the network; see description below

. 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.

Network Size

Two 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

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)


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