Why are Computer Networks Needed?
The most important use of a computer network is sharing information. Computer networks were made with the sole purpose to share information. Any user can access the resources in the computer of any other user provided the other user intends to share the same. Besides, every network consists of a server, where all the important data and information is stored.
Thus, the individual computer users do not have to store data and applications into their own computers, they can simply access the same from the server machine. Besides, setting up a computer network in any organization allows the computer administrator or network administrator, to have a control over the operations performed through those machines.
A common computer security blanket can be provided to the machines and at the same time, the users can also be prohibited from performing tasks which are not allowed by that particular organization.
Types of Computer Networks
The server is the most important part of a LAN, where the configuration to set up the LAN is done. Many types of cables can be used for forming a LAN, like coaxial cables or twisted pair. However, the best and the fastest way to transfer information in a Local Area Network, is by the use of fiber optic cables.
WLAN stands for Wireless Local Area Network. It is nothing different from a LAN. The purpose is the same, i.e. connecting a certain number of computers within a network, wirelessly. A wireless medium is set up for data transfer. Routers and access points are the most important components. Router is used to setup this network.
Wide Area Network is meant to connect computers across cities as well as countries. In general, multinational companies get a lease line for the purpose. A telephone line and a modem can also be used for the same purpose, for transferring information over such a large distance. This is what is commonly referred to as a dial-up connection.
Computer Network Connections
Let us now try to understand the different ways of forming a computer network. Again, there are various ways of doing the same, but let us try to understand the most common computer network configurations that are available.
Since there are chances that the information may clash on the line, this is not considered a very easy to implement computer network in an organization with a large number of computers.
Here, all the computers are connected to a single hub and the transmission and reception of data is done through this hub machine.
It's not necessary, that every computer will have a direct connection to another computer. The data has to find the shortest way by hopping from one node to the other.
How Does Information Travel from One Computer to Another?
Using Ethernet technology, the data is broken into small pieces called packets of data. Every packet of data has a head and in some cases a tail. The head contains information like the destination address, the checking bits, etc.
The other computer on receiving that packet sends an acknowledgment packet, to notify that it has successfully received that piece of data and is now in a position to receive new data. This is the basic principle of the working of data. To understand even more clearly, how data travels, we need to understand the term 'protocols'.
What is a Computer Networking Protocol?
A computer networking protocol is nothing but a set of rules that defines the way data and information will be transferred from one computer to another. These rules will define when to send a packet of data, when an acknowledgment signal should be given, etc.
The most common protocol is the one used in the largest network i.e., the Internet is TCP/IP model. This protocol is divided into two parts, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), that decides how the systems will communicate with each other and IP (Internet Protocol), that handles the part to address the packets and rout them to their respective destinations.