So what is computer networking? To the uninitiated this term may sound intimidating but you may have already come across it or have even used it either at work or at home. For those new to computer networking, simply put, a network refers to a system where two or more computers are connected to each other. This is done so people can share things like information or computer hardware, like a printer for instance.
Now there are several things you need to set up a computer network. The most basic system consists of a protocol, NICs or network interface cards, cable and a hub.
A protocol is a set of rules that the computers have to follow in order for them to "speak the same language". For example, http is a protocol. If you want to be able to access a website from your computer that works on http, the website you are accessing must also operate on the same protocol otherwise you will not be able to read the site.
NICs are cards that you put at the back or side of a computer. This allows the computers to communicate with each other. A cable is simply a wire that connects the computers together and the hub is a device that controls traffic, for example, information that one computer sends to another.
Now this is a list of items for a standard network. You're going to need a different set of devices if you are going to go for wireless networking.
How does a computer network work? Let's say for instance, you want to send information from your desktop to your father's computer. The NIC on your PC transfers the file through the cable into the hub. The hub then transfers the data to your father's computer. If each of the units uses the same protocol then the information is accepted by your dad's computer and he will be able to open the file you just sent.
There are two types of networks: the LAN or local area network and the WAN or wide area network.
The LAN is a very simple type of network where all the units you connect are located in one place. There are two types of LAN, peer to peer and client server. A peer to peer network is where two or more computers are connected to each other directly. For example, computer 1 is connected to computer 2, computer 2 is connected to computer 3 and so on. The computers are dependent on each other so if one unit experiences problems, the others simply will not be able to connect to each other. The client server type is where all computers are connected to a main unit. This is more convenient because if one computer has problems, the others will not be affected. You will still be able to exchange data.
An example of a WAN is the internet. As you can see, this is a very large type of network allowing millions of users to connect with each other.
More and more people are looking to computer networking, even at home. This affords people more convenience and makes day to day life more efficient