Computer networking is the process of linking multiple computing devices together to share data. Every business needs computer networking in order to efficiently operate. A network consists of both software and hardware that must be able to send data back and forth. Three basics of computer networking include: types of area networks, different network designs, and network protocols.
Types of Area Networks
There are a few common types of area networks when it comes to computer networking. Some of the most popular ones include: LAN, WAN, and WLAN. LAN stands for local area network which describes the connection of devices in close proximity, usually used for offices to connect computers, printers, etc. WAN stands for wide area network designed for connectivity across a larger area. WLAN stands for wireless local area network which allows for wireless connection across a local area network, or across a wide area network (WWAN).
Different Network Designs
The two most common network designs are client/server and peer-to-peer. Generally, peer-to-peer networks are best for homes because they do not have a central server. These networks are inexpensive to set up, but they also have limited security. Client/server networks are common for businesses. Files are stored on a central server and can be accessed across the network.
Network protocols define communication between devices. The most common types of protocols are internet protocols, wireless protocols, and network routing protocols. Internet protocols (IP) integrate with higher-level protocols to provide additional capabilities. Wireless network protocols include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE. Network routing protocols can manage pathways between destinations and sources, make dynamic routing decisions, and identify other routers.
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