Networking can simply be defined as the interconnection of two or more different computer system for the purpose of sharing resources and files among themselves. As a result of this connection, stand-alone computers such as PC with full resources like input units, processor, and output units can share resources and files with each other.

Networking on the basis of their scale, scope and purpose can be divided into two broad categories, which are:

1.Local Area Network

2.Wide Area Network

1.   Local Area Network (LAN): This is a type of computer network in which networking facility is available in a small physical area (mostly in meters but very rarely in kilometres) probably in an office building, home, school or places like airport, hostel etc. Each computer or device connected to the network is called a node. A LAN is useful for sharing resources like files, printers, games or other applications.

The distinguishing characters of LAN which separates it from other types of networks are:

·        Size of the LAN

·        Transmission technology used by LAN and

·        Network topology

LAN is restricted in size and due to this simplifies network management. LAN probably use a transmission technology consisting of inexpensive hardware such as Ethernet cables, to which all other devices or computers are attached. Speed of LAN ranges from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps and thus has an advantage of having low delay of microseconds or nanoseconds.

Examples of LAN:

The most common type of local area network is an Ethernet LAN. The smallest home LAN has exactly two computers whereas a large LAN can consist of thousands of computers. Many LANs are divided into logical groups called subnet.  Various Network topologies are possible for broadcasting LAN. It may be a bus,ring or star topology.

In bus topology, all of the computers share and communicate across one common conduit, whereas in a star network, all data flows through one centralized device.

1.   Wide Area Network (WAN): This is a computer network that covers a broad area (i.e., any network whose communications links cross metropolitan, regional, or national boundaries). A WAN covers a larger area by using communication channel s that includes numerous telephone lines, cables etc. A WAN can be thought of as a geographically-dispersed collection of LANs. LANS are connected to WAN through a network device called a router. The internet is the largest WAN covering the Earth. WANs tend to use technology like ATM, Frame Relay and X.25 for connectivity over the longer distances.

Network Components and Devices

Before a Network can be set up at any level, whether at the Local Area Network or at the Wide Area Network certain components must be in place and they are described as follows:

1.   Hubs

2.Modem: This provides support for the conversion of data into signals and back into data or information .It is known as MODULATOR DEMODULATOR(MODEM)

3.   Switches

4.   Routers

5.   Network Interface Card (NIC)

6.   Personal Computers such as Desktop, Laptop, Pad etc.

7.   Terminals

8.   Communication channel such as Ethernet Cables

9.   People ware (Human components)

Benefits of Networking

The benefits of networking (either wired or wireless) in homes are:

·    File sharing – Network file sharing between computers gives you more flexibility than using floppy drives or zip drives. Not only can you share photos, music files, and documents, you can also use a home network to save copies of all of your important data on a different computer. Backups are one of the most critical yet overlooked tasks in home networking.

·   Printer / peripheral sharing – Once a home network is in place, it’s easy to then set up all of the computers to share a single printer. No longer will you need to bounce from one system or another just to print out an email message. Other computer peripherals can be shared similarly such as network scanners, Web cams, and CD burners.

·   Internet connection sharing – Using a home network, multiple family members can access the Internet simultaneously without having to pay an ISP for multiple accounts. You will notice the Internet connection slows down when several people share it, but broadband Internet can handle the extra load with little trouble. Sharing dial-up Internet connections works, too. Painfully slow sometimes, you will still appreciate having shared dial-up on those occasions you really need it.

·    Home entertainment – Newer home entertainment products such as digital video recorders (DVRs) and video game consoles now support either wired or wireless home networking. Having these products integrated into your network enables online Internet gaming, video sharing and other advanced features.

Tests and Exercises


1.   ____________ is an interconnection between two or more computer system for the purpose of sharing resources.

a.   Networking   b.  Internet    c.  Web      d.   Blog    Answer:  Networking

2.   The type of networking that is in a small area such as a building is refers to as _____

a.   WAN   b. LAN     c.   PAN     d.   LAW          Answer:  LAN

3.   The computer network that covers a broad area is refers to as ________

a.   LAN   b.  WAN    c.   PAN    d.   LAW             Answer:    WAN

4.   LANs are connected to WANS through the network device called ________

a.   Hub    b.  Ethernet     c.  Router    d. None of the above. Answer:  Router

5.   Which of the following is not part of the benefits of Networking?

a. File sharing   b.Printer sharing c. Internet connection sharing d.  Recording    Answer:  Recording

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