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Computer networking inform

From LifeWire Website

Computer Network Classification and Area Networks  


Computer networks can be categorized in several different ways. One  approach defines the type of network according to the geographic area it  spans. Local area networks (LANs), for example, typically span a single home, school, or small office building, whereas wide area networks (WANs), reach across cities, states, or even across the world. The internet is the world's largest public WAN.


Network Design  


Computer networks also differ in their design approach. The two basic forms of network design are called client-server and peer-to-peer.  Client-server networks feature centralized server computers that store  email, web pages, files, and applications accessed by client computers  and other client devices. On a peer-to-peer network, conversely, all  devices tend to support the same functions. Client-server networks are  common in business and peer-to-peer networks are common in homes.


A network topology defines  the network layout or structure from the point of view of data flow. In  bus networks, for example, all computers share and communicate across  one common conduit, whereas in a star network, data flows through one  centralized device. Common types of network topologies include bus,  star, ring, and mesh.

          

Network Protocols  


Communication languages used by computer devices are called network protocols.  Another way to classify computer networks is by the set of protocols  they support. Networks often implement multiple protocols and each  network supports specific applications. Popular protocols include  TCP/IP — the one commonly found on the internet and in home networks.


Computer Network Hardware and Software  


Special purpose communication devices including network routers,  access points, and network cables physically glue a network together.  Network operating systems and other software applications generate  network traffic and enable users to do useful things.

                  

What Is a Router and How Does it Work? 

          

Home Computer Networking  


While other types of networks are built and maintained by engineers, home networks belong to homeowners who often have little or no technical background.  Various manufacturers produce broadband router hardware designed to  simplify home network setup. A home router enables devices in different  rooms to efficiently share a broadband internet connection, helps  household members share files and printers within the network, and  improves overall network security.

          

Home networks have increased in capability with each generation of  new technology. Years ago, people commonly set up a home network to  connect a few PCs, share documents, and perhaps share a printer. Now  it's common for households to network game consoles, digital video  recorders, and smartphones for streaming sound and video. Home  automation systems have also existed for many years, but these have  grown in popularity recently with practical systems that control lights,  digital thermostats, and appliances.


Business Computer Networks  


Small and home office (SOHO) environments use technology that is  similar to home networks. Businesses often have additional  communication, data storage, and security requirements that require  expanding networks in different ways, particularly as the business gets  larger.

   

Whereas a home network generally functions as one LAN, a business  network tends to contain multiple LANs. Companies with buildings in  multiple locations utilize wide-area networking to connect these branch  offices together. Though also available and used by some households, voice over IP communication, network storage, and backup technologies are prevalent  in businesses. Larger companies also maintain internal web sites, called  intranets, to help with employee business communication.

   

Networking and the Internet  


The popularity of computer networks sharply increased with the creation of the World Wide Web (WWW) in the 1990s. Public web sites, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing  systems, and various other services run on internet servers across the  world.


Wired vs. Wireless Computer Networking  


Many of the same protocols such as TCP/IP work in both wired and  wireless networks. Networks with Ethernet cables predominated in  businesses, schools, and homes for several decades. Wi-Fi has emerged as the preferred option for building new computer networks,  in part to support smartphones and the other wireless gadgets that have  triggered the rise of mobile networking. 

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