Basic Networking

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Basic Network Types

Basic networking of computers has been around since the early 1960’s and is actually the main foundation of the internet that exists today. Simply put, networking is connecting computers together to share data.

There are several different types of categories that a network can fall into, but we will only talk about geographic networks, which are the most common. First there areLocal Area Networks, also known as LANs. That is probably a term that you have heard a lot, and is something that you will hear more of in the future. Basically, a LAN is sharing data across a home or office building. The next type of network is Wide Area Networks (WANs), and this type of network can reach across entire cities, states or even the entire world! In fact the internet is the biggest WAN network that exists.

Basic Networking Designs

Basic networking can also be designed only one of two ways, either a client server or a peer-to peer (P2P) network. Client servers are the ones that host web sites, email, files and some online applications. These are of course most common for businesses, but P2P networks are found in homes, on just about everybody’s computer. That is of course what file sharing programs are, regular computers coming together to make basically one giant computer (a network).

Peer-to-peer networks make it possible to get whatever song you want, when you want it. If it were a client server, then that business would be shut down before they could plug the computers in, because music sharing is a copyright violation, and no business can profit from that.

Network Protocols

Networked computers are communicating with each other, so they need to have a language protocol so they can understand each other. This is where network protocols come in and serve a great purpose. This is also another way to classify a network, by its protocols. Most networks use multiple protocols to support different applications. The most popular, and widely used protocol, is TCP/IP. This protocol is basically the foundation of the internet and is also found in just about every home.

Wireless Networking

Perhaps the easiest way to connect all of the computers in your house together, without putting holes in your wall, is to use a wireless network . Easily installed, wireless networks are the perfect solution for the average Joe who wants to set up a basic network in his or her home or office.

A wireless network uses radio or micro waves to communicate with others computers instead of a wire. If you wanted a wired network, then that would require you to get copper or fiber optic cables, which can become quite expensive and time consuming setting up.

Of course another advantage to wireless networks is mobility, which is more important to some people then others. Let’s say you move around a lot in your house, but still want to use the computer, a wireless network would basically be your only option. Another great plus to wireless networks is that you don’t have cables strewn about everywhere, which can be very unpleasing to the eye, and they collect dust.

The major downside to wireless networks is the problem of interference in the radio waves, which can cause data outage, because of the weather, obstructions and other radio waves that can clash with your wireless network.

The standard for wireless networks is 802.11 “Wi-Fi” and it should say that on the wireless network equipment you buy.

Wired Networking

Running wires through your home just to connect your computers together does seem like an unnecessary pain, but once done you will never want to get rid of it. There are advantages of a wired network over a wireless one, like for instance there are less connection issues. Since a wireless network uses radio waves, sometimes interference can cause a brief, or sometimes long, interruption in your connection. Also, configuring a wireless network is sometimes a little more complicated then a wired one.

Basic Networking Gear

The gear needed to put together a wired or wireless network is shown below for each type of basic computer network.

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