Network

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
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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