Define the term Computer Network: Two or more computers are connected to transmit the data electronically. In addition to physically connecting computers and communication devices, a network system provides a consistent architecture that allows a variety of device types to transmit information in an almost seamless manner. The two well-known architectures are ISO Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) and IBM Systems Architecture (SNA).
The primary network types are Local Area Networks (LANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs). Local networks connect computers and peripherals in a limited physical area, such as an office, lab, or university campus, through connections (wires, Ethernet cables, fiber optics, Wi-Fi) that transmit data quickly. A typical LAN contains two or more high-capacity computers, printers, and large-capacity storage devices, known as file servers, that allow each computer on the network to access a standard set of files. With LAN operating system software that interprets inputs and directs networked devices, users can communicate with each other. Sharing printers and storage devices; and simultaneously access processors, data, or programs (instruction sets) located in the center. LAN users can also access other LANs or wide area networks. LANs with similar architectures are connected by “bridges” serving as transfer points. LANs of different structures are connected by “gateways” that convert data as they transfer among systems.
WANs connect computers and lesser networks to more extensive networks in larger geographic areas, including various continents. You can connect computers to cables, fiber, or satellites, but their users typically access networks/systems through a modem (a device that computers can talk to over the phone line). The largest WAN is the Internet, a network of networks and bridges connecting billions of computer users on every continent.
What is a Network?
A network is made up of two or more computers connected to share resources (such as printers and CDs), share files, or provide electronic communication. Computers in a network can be connected by cables, phone lines, radio waves, satellites, or infrared light beams.
The two most common types of networks are:
Local Area Network (LAN)
Wide Area Network (WAN)
You can also see references to metropolitan area networks (MAN), wireless (WLAN), or wireless (WWAN) networks.
Local Area Network (LAN)
A LAN (local area network) is a network that is limited to a relatively small area. It is usually limited to a geographical area such as a writing lab, a school, or a building.
Computers connected to a network usually categorized as servers or workstations. Servers are typically not used directly by humans, but always work to provide services to other computers (and their users) on the network. Services provided include faxing and printing, software hosting, sharing files and saving, messaging, saving and recovering data, full access control (security) of network resources, and many more.
Workstations are referred to as such because they usually have a human user interacting with them through the network. Workstations have traditionally been considered desktop computers, consisting of a computer, a keyboard, a screen, and a mouse or a laptop with an integrated keyboard, display, and touchpad. With the advent of tablet and touchscreen devices like the iPad and the iPhone, our workstation definition is rapidly evolving to include these devices because they can interact with the network and use network services.
Servers are usually more potent than workstations, although configurations based on requirements. For example, a server group may be located in a secure area that is not close to people and accessible only through the network. In such cases, it is common for servers to operate without a dedicated screen or keyboard.
Nevertheless, the size and speed of the server’s processors, hard drive, and main memory can significantly increase system costs. On the other hand, a workstation may not require as much memory, but an expensive display to meet the needs of the user. Each computer in a network must be configured to use it.
In a single LAN, computers and servers can be wired or connected wirelessly. Wireless access to a wired network provided by wireless access points (WAP). These WAP devices bridge the gap between computers and networks. A typical WAP has the theoretical capability to connect hundreds or even thousands of wireless customers to a system, although the practical capacity may be much lower.
The servers are almost always connected to the cable network because the cable connections remain the fastest. Stationary workstations (desktops) are typically also connected to the network via a cable, although the cost of wireless adapters has dropped so much that installing workstations in an existing installation with short cabling may be more comfortable and less expensive. Use Wi-Fi for a desktop.
For more information on configuring a LAN, see Topology, Cabling, and Hardware in this tutorial.
Wide Area Network
WANs (Wide Area Networks) connect networks in larger geographic areas such as Florida, the US, or around the world. Dedicated transoceanic cables or satellite uplinks can be used to connect this type of global network.
Using a comprehensive network, schools in Florida can communicate with places like Tokyo in seconds, without having to pay big phone bills. Two remote users from around the world who equipped with microphones and webcam workstations can make a real-time conference call. A WAN is complicated. It uses multiplexers, bridges, and routers to connect local and metro networks to global communication networks such as the Internet. For users, however, an extended network does not seem to be very different from a local network.
In the United States, the average computer network technician salary is $44,562, while an independent technician earns $20.07 per hour, according to PayScale.