What is a Network? | Exploring Computer Networking Components

A network connects systems and allows them to communicate using shared resources. This means that computers can interact with each other both physically and logically in a connected world.

What is a Network?

What is a Computer Network?

Computer networks have different physical and connection structures. They also differ in the way data flows. Some networks allow many computers to share resources to improve connectivity.

A group of connected computers forms a network. People use this network to share information. This makes it easy for them to share information quickly and efficiently.

History of Computer Networks

Computer networks have evolved to meet communication needs. Like a spider web, they connect individuals and businesses.

In the 1980s, Datapoint Corporation developed the ARCNET protocol for networking. First networking used ARCNET protocol by Datapoint Corp. In the 1980s, they created it for networking purposes.

Networks used coaxial cables, 2.5 Mbps data transfer, considered high speed. At the time, users shared information via parallel or serial ports due to slow data transmission.

The first computer network emerged 35 years ago during the Cold War. At UCLA in the US, scientists used a cable to connect two computers to stream data from one machine to another. Nowadays, computer networks are prevalent and sophisticated.

This development began ARPANET, the precursor to what we now know as the Internet.

In the Cold War, Arpanet centralized US military information. Later, the Internet evolved from Arpanet technology. Goal: Ensure accessible military information in a national attack. Thus, data could be readily available for defense.

Arpanet usage expanded, and US institutions built remote nodes. Furthermore, Stanford Research Institute and the University of Utah participated. The first communication system used TCP/IP protocol as standard. Later on, this protocol became a networking norm.

We recognize TCP/IP as an Internet network that facilitates information sharing. So info could flow smoothly across structures. In 1983, Paul Mockapetris and Jon Postel created DNS. Since then, DNS has become essential for the Internet.

Network Developments in the 1990s

Improvements led to rapid network growth in the 1990s. As a result of this, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Tim Berners invented WWW but didn’t patent it. As a result, Internet development faced fewer obstacles.

Achievements led to a knighthood from the British royal family. Additionally, Time magazine recognized him as one of the 20 most significant thinkers of the 20th century.

1940s computers were massive and prone to failure. In 1947, semiconductor transistor invention led to smaller and more robust computers.

The 1950s: large corporations used mainframe computers with punch card programs. Additionally, they became a regular tool for large corporations in the 1950s.

Researchers developed an integrated circuit combining millions of transistors. So, it became a compact semiconductor towards the end of this decade.

During the 1960s, the widespread use of integrated circuits commenced. In the late 1960s and 1970s, inventors introduced smaller computers known as minicomputers. But, these minicomputers still needed to be faster by modern standards.

In 1977, Apple introduced the personal computer. Additionally, in 1981 IBM followed suit with its version.

Developments After Minimized Circuits

Smaller circuits led to widespread personal computer use. Also, these compact systems became good tools for homes and businesses. In the 1980s, PC users connected and shared files using modems. Also, this facilitated the growth of online contact and collaboration.
In the 1980s, people connected online through point-to-point or dial-up systems. Furthermore, this made PCs the primary way to contact others. Bulletin boards allowed users to connect, send messages, and share files. Also, they could upload and download files for contact goals.

Disadvantage: required direct communication between people who knew it. As a result, only those familiar with the bulletin board could use it. Furthermore, every connection to the bulletin board computer required a modem.

Five simultaneous connections require five modems on separate lines. But, as users increased, the system needed help to handle the growing demand.

During the 1960s to 1990s, the DoD (United States Department of Defense) created reliable WAN tech. So, it effectively served military and scientific purposes.

Tech operated differently from bulletin boards, allowing much computer communication. As a result of this, several computers could communicate using this technology.

Networking enabled data transfer between computers, not just one. So, accessing many computers over the same connection became possible. As a result of this development, DoD WAN technology evolved into today’s Internet.

What is the Data Transmission Media in Networking?

The medium determines network speed, distance, and topology. Thus, it affects how fast information travels and the effective distance between devices in the network.

Copper or coaxial cables: 100 Mbps over short distances. In contrast, several thousand bps over long distances. Optical fibers: high speeds over long distances possible. Moreover, they enable data transmission at very high speeds over long distances.

Wireless connections send data up to 100 meters. As a result, it is possible to send packages wirelessly over varying distances within these ranges.

How are Computer Structures Organized?

A computer environment comprises three components:

  1. Application Software

Application software: communicates with users on the Internet. Thus, it enables sharing of information and resources.

  1. Network Software

It includes the protocols required for computers to communicate with each other. These protocols work by sending and receiving data blocks called packets.

  1. Hardware Software

Hardware components unite computers in a central environment. As a result, they create a networked system.

Adapter hardware: carries signals, connects devices, receives packets, and transmits. Also, it provides access to the hardware that attaches devices.

Networking allows contact between PCs and devices. Moreover, users can transfer info electronically with ease.

In these structures, some computers are workstations. Additionally, they communicate via a cable or telephone line connected to the servers.

Servers are computers with managing functions, allowing monitoring and control. Also, they maintain access to the domain and shared resources.

What Are the Types of Computer Networks?

  1. Shared

Shared systems involve many users sharing info needs. So, they provide centralized transfers for everyone involved.

  1. Non-Public

Non-public structures connect two or more points only. But they need more security, speed, or other features. Users use this system for point-to-point and multi-point environments. Moreover, it allows communication between two or more points.

  1. Private

Private individuals, companies, or organizations manage this structure. As a result, they use it to grant administrators access to specific services.

  1. Public

Government agencies own this open structure based on contracts. Furthermore, it focuses on user requests and relevant agreements.

  1. Local Area Networks (LAN)

LAN connects computers with high-speed lines in one building. Additionally, it interconnects its equipment within a limited area. Leading LAN technologies are Ethernet, Token Ring, ARCNET, and FDDI. LANs commonly use these technologies.

A typical LAN has a server where users install applications. So they can run these applications on their workstations. Users access services through applications running on the server. Thus, they can use print jobs and other features.

  1. Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN)

A MAN links computers across an area with many buildings. Additionally, it utilizes devices owned by the same organization to interconnect the equipment.

MAN often connects LANs to create more extensive networks. Thus, it finds widespread usage in interconnecting local area networks (LANs).

  1. Wide Area Networks (WAN)

A WAN is an interconnection system of geographically dispersed computers on different continents. These usually consist of public data transfer environments.

Network Topology Types

Networks decide how cables connect computers. Also, network topologies determine the layout of the wires connecting the PCs.

Topologies give cheap, efficient connections to enhance reliability. Likewise, they reduce info waiting times and offer better network management. Also, they efficiently increase the number of PCs.

Computer network topologies are:

  1. Bus Topology

Bus topology: computers on a single communication channel. Hence, all devices connect through one cable.

  1. Ring Topology

Ring topology: computers in a circular sequence. Furthermore, each PC connects to the next, terminating the circle. PCs connect directly to the server for all communication. Additionally, this contact process occurs through the server.

  1. Star Topology

Star topology: nodes form a tree-like structure. Furthermore, this format resembles a series of connected star networks.

  1. Tree Topology

Individual links connect computers in a tree topology. Moreover, this type of connection enables parallel communication when needed.

  1. Mesh Topology

Local networks use hubs or switches for hierarchical topology. Moreover, this structure creates a complex environment in most networks.

Basic Network Protocol in Networking: TCP/IP

Protocols are standards for sending and receiving data between devices. Furthermore, they determine the method of info among PCs.

The PC’s ability to connect networks has led to the development of many protocols. Furthermore, the same PC can establish connections with many networks.

Adapters in a system can use many protocols. Furthermore, every configured protocol is available to existing physical or logical adapters.

Malfunctioning devices and protocols allow unauthorized access to network resources. Moreover, if they need to work correctly, they pose security risks.

In the late 1960s: TCP/IP protocol connects computers with different OS. Moreover, it allows seamless communication across diverse operating systems.

Types of Some Services Running on the Networking

An effective computer environment requires these essential services. Moreover, it must provide the following set of services.

  1. Access Service

Access services enable users to connect from remote locations. So, they allow authentication to decide the resources available.

  1. File Service

File service enables downloading, deleting, or configuring user data. Also, it works on PCs connected to the web.

Service stores the applications and data on the server. Thus effectively reducing computer storage needs.

  1. Print Service

Printing service shares printers among many users. Furthermore, it plays a vital position in reducing the firm’s costs.

  1. E-Mail Service

The e-mail service is the most common application used in networking. This service provides convenience in online communication and reduces costs in information transmission.

  1. Information Service

Information service provides access to files based on content. Moreover, it includes info for apps to process.

Benefits of Building a Networking

Networking efficiently centralizes and distributes data within an organization. As a result, it provides info to users who request it.

Networking makes interacting with others, having video calls, and doing possible. It lets you check online buying, money, and real-time data transfer.

Related Articles

1) What is Frame Relay?
2) What is Token Ring?
3) What is FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface)?
4) What is an Intranet?
4) What is an Extranet?

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