A computer network is a connection of computers and other associated devices. These devices are connected with the aim of communicating with each other and also sharing files and other resources. Computer networks have become an indispensable asset today in businesses, homes, hospitals and everywhere.
A computer network can allows a patient have access to his doctor who is physically thousands of miles away, a manager can access important document . on his office computer, even when he is not in the office. One interesting use of a computer network is in the banking sector. A customer can have access to his bank accounts, transfer, withdraw and check his account balance in the comfort of his home and office. Students can also have access to library facilities and learning platforms, thanks to computer networks.
A computer network consists of devices such as computers, printers, scanners, and connecting devices. These connecting devices facilitate the connection among the devices. Each of these devices, some of which include gateway, router, bridge, switch, hub and a repeater, play a role in the network. A gateway device acts as the interface between networks using different protocols. A router determines the point to which to forward a data packet towards its destination. The bridge connects multiple network segments. A switch allocates traffic to its destination. A hub connects several Ethernet segments and makes them act as a single network.
Types of networks
Networks can also be classified into types depending on the size and geographical coverage. A personal area network (PAN) is the smallest considerable type of network. It consists of a computer connected to other information technology devices such as a printer, fax, telephone, scanner and PDA, mostly connected by cable or Bluetooth. Local Area Networks (LAN) are the larger compared to the PAN. A typical LAN consists of ten or less computers and other devices. They cover a small area, such as a small office or building.
Another type of a computer network that is bigger than the LAN is the is the Metropolitan Area Network (WAN). This network consists of more than ten computers and devices and covers a Metropolitan area. The next largest network is the Wide Area Network (WAN). A WAN covers a large geographic area such as a country or continent, using communication channels such as cables, air waves and cables. The internet is the largest of all networks. It is the world - wide connection of all other networks.
Benefits of network
A computer network brings a lot of benefits. It allows sharing of files and documents located on a computer on the same network. It also allows the sharing of devices such as printers, scanners and other devices connected to the network. It also allows the sharing of internet connection on a network. If only one or a few computers on the network are connected to the internet, other computers can connect through them. Information and program installation can be done on only one computer, and other users can access from this computer. This saves space and other computing resources.
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