It’s been a while since I’ve written a tech post!
Last month, one of my aims was to improve my computer networking knowledge and so in my spare time I’ve been reading up on bits here and there. Although there’s a lot I’ve learned through my job, since I don’t have the educational background in computer science there’s still been a few gaps to fill, so this extra study has really helped me.
As a result of all this study time, I’ve got a thick pile of notes that I thought I’d type up and share in summaries in a few Tech Talk posts in future.
Which brings us to this post: What is a Network?
NETWORK A group of two or more computers that are linked together.
The above definition is a really brief summary so to specify a bit more: a data network is defined as a group of two or more computers that are linked together by communication paths for the purpose of transmitting, receiving and exchanging data.
That might sound like a not-so-simple definition now, but it might help if we think of a network as like a friendship group.
Let’s say you have a group of friends who are connected to each other. In a computer network, each of these friends would be called a ‘node’ (which is a term used to refer to any device connected to the network, such as a computer, a printer or a modem).
There are many different types of networks, but I’ll give a couple of examples:
– A Local Area Network (LAN) covers a small area such as one site or building, for example, a school or a university. So we might say that friends who live in the same building as you would be part of your Local Area Network.
– A Wide Area Network (WAN) covers a large geographical area, and most WANs are made from several LANs connected together. We could describe your Wide Area Network as a wider circle of friends, either made up of groups of friends who live in the same building (LAN) or just a few standalone friends dotted here and there, who live in the same town as you.
Inside a computer network, the nodes (our friends) are connected and they are able to share data with each other. To continue with our analogy, the data that our friends in our friendship network are able to share can be anything from your phone number, your address or your birthday, although things such as your PIN code can be kept private and not shared by you. Inside a network, these details are referred to as ‘resources’.
So there we have it: the very basics of what a computer network is.
If you have any questions or have anything to add or correct me on, I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.
Have a lovely day!