Networking is the convenient way of making information accessible to anyone, anytime & anywhere. A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of computers and devices connected by communications channels that facilitates communications among users and allows users to share resources with other users. A computer network allows sharing of resources and information among devices connected to the network.

Computer networking is the engineering discipline concerned with the communication between computer systems or devices.

Evolution of Networking

Earlier computers handling Large Data were developed to handle text, graphics, animation, sound & video. Than improvements were made in personal computers which were made small, powerful & cheap with user friendly environment. Later was seen the emergence of Computer Networks which were made with features like distributed, intelligent, high-speed LAN/WAN. Examples of
different network methods are:

  • Local area network (LAN) which is usually a small network constrained to a small geographic area. An example of a LAN would be a computer network within a building.
  • Metropolitan area network (MAN), which is used for medium size area. Examples for a city or a state.
  • Wide area network (WAN) that is usually a larger network that covers a large geographic area.

Wireless LANs and WANs (WLAN & WWAN) are the wireless equivalent of the LAN and WAN.

Network topology

The network topology defines the way in which computers, printers, and other devices are connected, physically and logically. A network topology describes the layout of the wire and devices as well as the paths used by data transmissions. Commonly used topologies include:

Bus                                 Star
Tree (hierarchical)          Linear
Ring                               Mesh
Partially connected         Fully connected