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    Networking 4 min read

    A network is defined as a group of two or more computer systems linked together. There are many types of computer networks, including the following:

    NETWORK CHARACTERISTICS

    In addition to these types, the following characteristics are also used to categorize different types of networks:

    Computers on a network are sometimes called nodes. Computers and devices that allocate resources for a network are called servers.

    Image: Network Topology diagram

    (v.) To connect two or more computers together with the ability to communicate with each other.

    Network topologies

    Network topology describes how a network is arranged physically and logically. This description includes how links and nodes are connected in relation to each other. There are many varieties of network topologies including:

    • Bus: Each computer and network device is connected to a single cable or backbone.
    • Star: Every host device is connected to one central host.
    • Ring: Each network device connects to exactly two other network devices, which forms a single continuous pathway for signals to move through each device, like a ring.
    • Mesh: Each network device is connected in a way where each device distributes data amongst each other.
    • Tree: Each computer device is connected like branches on a tree; it is a combination of bus and star network topology.

    Public vs. private networks

    There are two types of networks one can connect to. This includes private and public networks. A public network is a type of network in which anyone who has access to and through it can connect to the internet. A private network involves restrictions that are established to promote a secured environment. Some things to note when it comes to public and private networks include:

    • Private networks require a password, most public networks do not
    • Some public networks (like hotels or businesses) require a web login for authentication
    • Public networks (like at airports and cafes) should be used with caution and a VPN

    Examples of network devices

      • Internet-enabled devices such as laptops, smartphones, gaming consoles, printers, smart home devices
      • Servers are pieces of computer hardware or software that provides functionality for other programs or devices
      • Firewalls monitor and filter incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a business’s previously established security policies
      • Bridges connect two LANs and controls data flow between them
      • Switches learn which machine is connected to its port by using its IP address
      • Repeaters amplify received input signals to a higher frequency domain, so it is reusable and scalable
      • Hubs are physical layer networking devices used to connect multiple devices in a network
      • Modems are small boxes that connect your devices to the internet using cables
      • Routers are devices that forward data packets between computer networks
      • NICs, or network interface cards, provide computers with a dedicated, full-time connection to a network
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