What is a Computer Network:-
A Computer network is a group of two or more computers interconnected via cables or through wireless mode, for sharing hardware and software resources. These resources can be printers, files, CDs, e-mails or any software. Interconnected computer are able to exchange information between each other.
Some example of a computer network are:-
- Computers in a lab are interconnected using a network to share a single printer or software.
- Files shared between computers within a building through a computer network.
- The Internet
Most of the network using distributed processing. In distributed processing, a particular task is divided among multiple computers ( usually a personal computer or workstation ) and a separate computer is responsible for the different aspects of a process. A successful network needs to meet a number of criteria. Let’s discuss these criteria.
Computer Network criteria:-
A network must meet the criteria. The most important criteria are performance, reliability, and security. These criteria are explained below :
The performance of a network can be measured in many ways. A couple of criteria are transit time and response time. Transit time can be defined as the amount of time required for a message to travel from one device to another. Similarly, response time is defined as the elapsed time between an inquiry and a response.
The performance of a network depends upon a number of factors such as the number of users, the type of transmission medium, the capabilities of the connected hardware and the efficiency of the software.The performance of a network is evaluated by throughput delay.
Ideally, more throughput and less delay are required in a network. However, if we try to send more data to a network, we may increase throughput but at the same time delay is increased due to traffic congestion in the network.
Network reliability is measured by the degree of failure along with the time the network takes to recover from a failure.
Network security involves protecting data from unauthorized access and damage. It also includes the development and implementation of policies and procedures t recover from breaches and data losses.
Let’s discuss about the advantages of a computer network.
Benefits of a computer network:–
It is important for an organization to have an efficient IT system in place, flexible enough for upgrades; as per its organizational growth. It can also help in the maximum utilization of the IT resources. A well planned and designed networking system addresses this need and enables us to connected the entire business into one unit.
It also saves time and effort to maintain the entire system from one point. Let’s look at the key benefits that networking offers to an organization.
Files can be shared between linked computers in a network. Users connected to a network can access information with each other; without the need to physically move from one computer to another.
Hardware devices such as printers, scanner, and CD-ROM drivers can be shared within a network. therefore, the need to purchase and install separate hardware for individual computers is eliminated.
Just like hardware sharing, the software can also be shared among different users. You can also define user permissions to access any software; when it is shared over a network. For example, consider that WinZip is installed on a network in a lab of ten users. However, it is required only by four users. Now, WinZip can be shared just among the four of them by specifying access permissions.
Cost is reduced to a great extent by sharing hardware and software resources over a network. By sharing resources, the need to purchase hardware and software for individual users is eliminated.
Efficient Systems Management:
Using a computer network, it is possible to efficiently manage configurations, troubleshoot and maintain the connected computers.
Enable Real-time communication:
Instant messaging and live conferences are the need of the hour. One of the best aspects of a computer network is that it enables real-time communication. The internet can be shared over a network and information can be exchanged by setting up the E-mail and File Transfer Protocol(FTP).
Computer network has become an essential means of sharing information. It provides a multitude of benefits not only to individuals but to organizations. However, as every technology has a difficult side, the computer network has a certain drawback. Now let’s look at these drawbacks.
Drawbacks of a Computer Network:-
In spite of the various advantages a computer network offers, there are some detriments that a network encounters. Let us look at some of them:
High Installation Costs:
It is expensive to set up and deploy a network. Only a trainded person can manage a large network and its maintenance is also a costly deal.
Risk of Hacking:
A computer network is susceptible to virus attacks and can be hacked. Security procedures and robust firewalls need to be set up to prevent such attacks.
The hardware and cables used to set up a network are subject to damage and can assault the normal functioning of a network.
Before discussing the network in-depth, you must be aware of the network terminology. Let us learn about the different terms used in relation to a network.
Computer Network Terminologies:-
Here are some IT terms and terminologies that you are likely to come across while working with networks. Let’s look at some of the commonly used terms related to networking.
Computer systems connected to a network are termed as network nodes.
A network device is a hardware component that is required for connecting computers in a network. It links the network together to enable communication and controls the data traffic between the network nodes. Bridge, Hub, Switch, and Router are some of the examples of such network devices.
A network interface is a point of connection between a computer and a network. It is basically a component that contains all the hardware required to connect a computing device to a network.
Computer Network Interface Card:
Network Interface Card (NIC) is an electronic circuit card that is required to connect any computer to a network. It controls data communication between the network nodes and the internet. It is required for both wired and wireless networks.
It is a computer’s unique 48-bit hardware address assigned to the network interface for data communication at the data link layer. The NIC manufacturer assigns MAC addresses into the Local Area Network (LAN) card for wired networks and Wi-Fi card for wireless networks. Ethernet is an example of a wired network and hence, MAC address is also termed as Ethernet address on an Ethernet LAN.
IP address is a 32-bit address assigned to each node or computer in a Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) network of nodes for data communication.
A Port is a unique number of a network process or application to which, a Web or network message is required to be delivered. It is usually a 16-bit port address.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL):
URL is a web address assigned to a resource. It specifies its location on the network of networks.
World Wide Web:
World Wide Web is a database of information on the internet where web pages are interconnected with hypertext links.
A gateway is a network node that connects two networks with different protocols. A network gateway can either be hardware, software or a combination of both.
Protocol is defined as a set of communication rules required for data transmission over the internet.
TCP/IP is a protocol used for data communication over the internet. TCP is responsible for reliable data transmission over the internet. the internet protocol is responsible for forwarding packet from one computer to another over the internet.