Networks

All the boring stuff

WHAT IS A NETWORK?

A network is a group of computers and other devices that are interconnected through a system of communication channels that allow the sharing of software, hardware and data. Each computer talks to the other computers for many reasons, including data sharing, distribution of processing and remote access to hardware.

COMPONENTS OF A NETWORK

Other Network Stuff

NETWORK ARRANGEMENTS

There are many ways that we can arrange the components of the network so that they interact in different ways:

Star

In a star network each node has its own connection to the central switch or server. This allows each node to share data with the server without the system becoming clogged. If a connection breaks between node and server, the rest of the network can still function. However, as all data is routed through the central unit, the entire system fails when the central unit is down.

Ring

In a ring network all the nodes are connected by a one-way looping network. each node connects to the two neighboring nodes. this means that if one node wishes to send data to another node, the data packets must travel round the circuit. however, if the circuit is broken at any point the whole network fails.

BUS

BUS networks consist of multiple nodes sharing one communal BUS cable. For data to pass between two nodes it must traverse the central BUS cable, but only one data transmission can occur at a time along the BUS, so the data transmission is quite inefficient. If one of the personal cables breaks, then the network can function without it, however should the BUS break, the entire network fails.

Local Area Network

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A Local Area Network (LAN) is an individual network that consists of multiple nodes and devices within a local area or workplace, for example a school, office or home. By using a LAN it is possible to save money on hardware (such as printers) and software licenses, which often come at a discounted price when purchased for a network (as opposed to purchasing multiple single licenses.) However, for a small area the quantity of network cabling needed is large and this is a very expensive piece of hardware, even in small quantities.

Wide Area Network

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A Wide Area Network (WAN) integrates multiple LANs over a wide area, facilitating inter-LAN file sharing. An example of a WAN is the Internet, which is basically one massive worldwide network. By using a WAN, individual LANs have many options for data sharing, and instead of buying the miles of cables that connect areas, it is possible to rent the line. However, when connected to WANs such as the Interweb, a LAN is vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and occasionally the loss of data due to power surges.

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