Networking For Dummies is written especially for people who have this nagging feeling in the back of their minds that they should network their computers but haven’t had a clue about how to start or where to begin. So what are you waiting for? Let’s start getting into these fundamental terms to have a great kick-off.
What does networking mean for dummies?
Essentially, a network is made up of two or more computers that are linked together to share resources (such as printers and CDs), exchange files, or enable electronic communication. Computers on the network can be connected via cables, telephone lines, radio waves, satellites, or infrared light beams.
Here are common types of networks:
- Local Area Network (LAN)
- Wide Area Network (WAN)
- Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN)
- Personal Area Networks (PAN)
- Home Area Network (HAN)
Computer networking was first linked between physical workstations, PCs, and desktops, either with an ethernet cable or later wireless. Each computer has its own physical hard drive. Its hard drive is often denoted by different drive letters on the interface of the workstation operating system and different types of software applications. Users can access a physical computer with their own drive, pull from the computer’s drive, or log into network software to access the drive of another computer in a different part of the room or the building.
In these initial setups, end-users typically chose access to a networked drive from a drop-down list, engineers used a specific network topology to link these workstation components together.
Circular, ring, bus, star, and tree topology are some common network structures used to allow individual computers to communicate with each other and share information. Computers are typically located in a specific building but can be networked between different rooms or offices.
Networking fundamentals for dummies
The network can be wired or wireless, with most networks a combination of the two. The following are some common fundamentals to know when discussing computer networking:
- IP address: An IP address is a unique number assigned to every device connected to a network using the Internet Protocol. Each IP address identifies the device’s home network and the device’s location. When one device sends data to another, the data consists of a “header” that includes the IP address of the sending device and the IP address of the target device.
- Node: A node is a connection point within the network that can receive, send, create, or store data. You need to provide some form of identification to each node to get access, such as an IP address. Nodes can be computers, printers, modems, bridges, and switches. Essentially, a node is any network device that can recognize, process, and transmit information to any other network node.
- Router: A router is a physical or virtual device to send the information contained in data packets between networks. The router analyzes the data in the packets to determine the best way for the information to reach its final destination. The router forwards the data packets until they reach the destination node.
- Switch: A switch is a device that connects other devices and manages communication between the nodes in the network, ensuring data packets reach their final destination. Whenever a router sends information between networks, a switch sends information between nodes in a single network. When “switching” the network, “switch” discusses how data is transferred between devices in the network.
- Port: A port is a specific connection between network devices. Each port is identified by a number. If you think the IP address is comparable to that of a hotel, the ports are the number of suites or rooms in that hotel. A computer uses the port number to determine which application, service, or the process receives a particular message.
- Network cables: The most common types are twisted-pair Ethernet, coax cable, and fiber optic cable. The choice of cable type depends on the size of the network, the arrangement of network elements, and the physical distance between the devices.
Networking technology for dummies
There are different ways network nodes can be connected to each other. This is usually not considered in small networks but as the network gets bigger, it becomes more important.
Popular connectivity technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. are designed to function using specific network topology.
When designing networks and choosing connection protocols, it is important to have a good understanding of these topologies. Popular are:
The way nodes on the network communicate with each other can be very different from how they are physically interconnected.
Common logical topologies are Peer Peer and Client-Server.
For Example, the Web (WWW) is a client-server network.
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer network. In this type of topology, all nodes are equal, and any node can share data with any other node.
Why computer networking is important
There are a number of reasons why networking is essential for a business, organization, or individual. These benefits include:
Cut down the costs
You can cut costs and allow the efficient use of resources. Hardware is the most expensive resource in technology. Computer networking significantly reduces your hardware costs.
Since computers are interconnected, resource consolidation is efficient. Printers, copiers, and spare stock were divided among the employees. This eliminates the need to purchase individual IT assets for each employee. Unlike traditional desktop computers, you need to install software regularly. Now you just need to install the updates and monitor the performance.
Increase storage capacity and volume
Computer networks aggregate all their data into a central data storage server. Your employees can access this data. You can use the data to gain a better understanding of how to increase your company’s productivity. With a central server, you reduce the number of servers and increase the efficiency of the activity.
Optimize convenience and flexibility
Computer networks allow flexible operation. The data is not stored on a local server so it is accessible over the internet connection. You can access your data from any device. This enhances the freedom of movement while accessing your data wherever you are.
Computer networks are a huge boon to the media landscape. Network connectivity allows you to send and receive text messages and files in real-time. Information is available and is easily accessible from any device. You only need a reliable internet connection. Even if your device is off, you login from another device and access your data.
The quality technology solution is a significant determinant of the success of any business. Computer networking is an essential technology solution for your business. It provides immense technology solutions for businesses and organizations in a variety of formats. We hope this article Networking for dummies will help explain the definition of networking and how it works in the simplest way. Don’t forget to subscribe and stay tuned for our next interesting articles!