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What is a Computer Network?

‍In this tutorial, you will learn what is a computer network, its advantages & disadvantages, its types, and more.

What is a Computer Network?

Computer networks are computer systems that share common resources and can exchange data reliably. Computer networks are an essential part of IT infrastructure in any organization because they increase the productivity of employees, the reliability of operations, and the efficiency of data storage. A computer network is a system or group of interconnected computers or other devices that can exchange data or information.

It enables users to share resources, such as printers and files stored on network servers, as well as connect to other devices around the world. It is one of the most important components of any organizational communication infrastructure. A computer network can be either private or public.

There are many different types of computer networks with varying properties that suit different environments and needs: A computer network is a logical collection of individual computers, terminals, servers, and related devices that communicate with one another through connected intermediate nodes called ‘nodes’ or host machines.

Advantages of Computer Network

Computer networks have many advantages, including the ability to share resources, improve communication, and increase the reliability of data, and the overall productivity of an organization.

  1. Enhanced Communication - Computer networks allow employees to communicate and collaborate with each other easily and effectively, regardless of location. This helps organizations to be more efficient and effective.
  2. Shared Resources - Computer networks allow users to share common resources, such as printers and files stored on network servers. This saves organizations money because they don’t need to purchase these items for each employee.
  3. Improved Data Security - A computer network can be configured for higher levels of data security than a standalone computer, making it an ideal choice for businesses that handle sensitive information.

Disadvantages of Computer Network

Computer networks also have some disadvantages. Data can become lost due to faulty data transmission, and it can be difficult to troubleshoot problems when they occur. Additionally, some organizations may have difficulty implementing a computer network due to budget constraints.

  1. Disrupted Communication - Networks can experience data transmission problems, which can interrupt communication. This can be especially problematic in organizations that depend on continual communication between employees.
  2. Network Security Issues - If a computer network isn’t sufficiently protected, it could become a target for hackers. Additionally, some employees may not adhere to network security protocols, putting the entire organization at risk.

Types of Computer Network

There are normally four types of computer networks:

  1. LAN - Local Area Network: A network that covers a small area, such as one building.
  2. MAN - Metropolitan Area Network: A LAN that covers a larger area, such as a city.
  3. WAN - Wide Area Network: A network connecting two LANs or MANs that are distant from each other.
  4. VPN - Virtual Private Network: A private network that uses a public network, such as the Internet.

A little more explanation on Types of Computer networks:

Internal Computer Network

An internal computer network is one that is used to interconnect computers among employees who work within the same company or building such as LAN. This type of computer network is completely private and doesn’t have any connection to the outside world. Internal computer networks are typically used for network file sharing, network printing, and network collaboration tools.

External Computer Network

An external computer network is one that is connected to the outside world via public networks such as the Internet or a private network, such as a WAN. This type of network is usually controlled by a third-party, such as an ISP or an organization that provides telecommunication services. An external computer network can also be used to connect multiple internal computer networks.

Applications of Computer Network

There are many different types of computer networks with varying properties that suit different environments and needs. Some of the most common types of computer networks include LANs, MANs, and WANs. LANs - LANs, or local area networks, are computer networks that are confined to a single building or campus.

They can be either wired or wireless. LANs are used in organizations of all types, both public and private. Businesses often use LANs to allow employees to share printers, files, email, and other resources. LANs provide reliable and high-speed connectivity and are ideal for organizations with a moderate volume of data traffic.

MANs - MANs, or metropolitan area networks, are LANs that cover a larger area, typically an entire city. MANs are designed to be used by organizations with high volumes of data traffic.

WANs - WANs, or wide area networks, are used to connect LANs or MANs located in different geographical areas. WANs can be either private or public, depending on the level of security they offer.

Conclusion

Computer networks are an essential part of IT infrastructure in any organization because they increase the productivity of employees, the reliability of operations, and the efficiency of data storage. Computer networks consist of interconnected computers or other devices that can exchange data or information. They can be either private or public. There are many different types of computer networks with varying properties that suit different environments and needs.