A group or assemblage of computers hooked up together is called a computer network. This set up allows computers networked together to send and receive data, and share resources like printers. Computers, or peripherals, networked together are not required to have the same operating system or even be alike as a device; they can range from desktop computers, notebook computers, and gaming consoles. These devices can be connected either wired or wirelessly.
There are devices or hardware you need before you can create a network. The most crucial device you need is the network interface card (NIC), which is the primary component required to connect to a network. Wired NICs are integrated on your motherboard but there you can buy a separate card, in case your computer is an older computer. Another device you need is a router. The router is responsible in transmitting data in a network. Router connectivity could either be wired or wireless.
Wired networks use cables and NIC. There are three pieces of hardware that use this set up.
- Twisted-Pair Wire or the UTP Cable - This medium is the most frequently used in the telecommunication industry, especially for household use. UTP cables are two insulated copper wires and are coiled into pairs, which is then used to transmit both voice and data. These coiled, insulated copper wires reduce electrical electromagnetic interference and decrease crosstalk.
- Coaxial Cable - Cable television uses this type of wiring. The coaxial cables are electrical cables that consist of an aluminum or copper wire enveloped in an insulating layer, which is made of high dielectric constant. A conductive layer is then wrapped around the copper wire and the tubular insulating layer before enclosed in a thin insulating layer.
- Fiber Optics - Fiber optics is a type of wiring that broadcasts data in pulses of light. This cable are composed of thin threads of fiberglass, which is wrapped in a protective layer.
Wireless networks use a wireless router and wireless network interface cards. This technology uses high frequency radio technology to connect to the Internet. Wireless LAN is the most commonly used set up in this technology.
Networks are often referred to as Local Area Connection (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), Personal Area Network (PAN), Virtual Private Network (VPN), Campus Area Network (CAN), or Storage Area Network (SAN). The names they are referred to depend on the scale, range and function; they are designed to be used in a specific geographical location. As an example, CAN is intended to connect computers in a campus, while LAN is usually intended to connect a set of computers, or devices, at home.
Computer networking will definitely grow as technology grows and knowing your networking basics will help you move forward as technology advances.