A network is a set of devices (often referred to as nodes) connected by communication links. Or a network is simply two or more computers that are linked together. A node can be a computer, printer, or any other device capable of sending and/or receiving data generated by other nodes on the network.
Benefits of a Network:
- Information sharing –
Authorized users can use other computers on the network to access and share information and data. This could include special group projects, databases, etc.
- Hardware sharing –
One device connected to a network, such as a printer or a scanner, can be shared by many users.
- Software sharing –
Instead of purchasing and installing a software program on each computer, it can be installed on the server. All of the users can then access the program from a single location.
- Collaborative environment –
Users can work together on group projects by combining the power and capabilities of diverse equipment.
A network must meet the following network criteria:
- Performance –
It measured by transit time and response time[also depends on users, medium, hardware, software.
- Reliability –
It measured by the frequency of failure.
- Security –
It protecting data from unauthorized access.
Risks of network computing:
The security of a computer network is challenged every day by:
- Equipment malfunctions
- System failures
- Computer hackers
- Virus attacks
Equipment malfunctions and system failures may be caused by natural disasters such as floods, storms, or fires, and electrical disturbances
Categories of Networks:
It is categorized into three types: LAN, MAN, WAN. Into which categories of network falls is determined by its size, its ownership, the distance it covers, and its physical architecture.
It is usually privately owned and links the devices in a single office, building, or campus. Its size is limited to a few kilometres. It is designed to allow resources (h/w, s/w or data) to be shared between personal computers or workstations. In general, a given LAN will use only one type of transmission medium. The most common LAN topologies are bus, ring, and star.
It is designed to extend over an entire city. A company can use MAN to connect the LANs in all its offices throughout a city. Maybe wholly owned and operated by a private company or it may be service provided by a public company (local telephone company).
It provides long-distance transmission of data over a country, a continent, or even the world wide. Maybe wholly owned and operated by a single company is referred to as an enterprise network.
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