Computer Network also called Network is a group of computers and other devices connected to each other to share resources electronically. Networks can be as small as two computers or many thousand computers that are connected to one another. These computers are usually connected to one another through wires, satellite, and modems.
Each device connected to the network is called a “node”, and the computer that is connected to the network is called a workstation.
There are several ways to connect networks together, the way the Network is laid out is called Topology, and there are several types of topologies, Bus Topology, Star Topology, Ring Topology. There are several types of network, Peer to Peer Network, Client/Server Network. Depending on the size of networks they are divided into several categories and have different terms that specify these networks, LAN (Local Area Network), MAN (Metropolitan Area Network), and WAN (Wide Area Network). One of the primary reasons to network is to increase productivity and cut all the unnecessary costs.
By connecting their office people can get the advantages of managing their data, all the data can be stored in a server computer instead of storing them in each workstations hard disk. This way you can easily back-up and manage your data. And whenever someone makes changes to files it will updated and everyone will have the access to the same updated file. The network administrator will decide to whom grant the access to the files. Another advantage of network is that it makes data transfer easy so you don’t have to transport files into Floppy disk, or USB device and walk over to your co-workers desk.
Networking also will allow you to share the equipment like printer, if there are several hundred computers in an office building you don’t have to buy different printers for each computers instead you can just buy one or two printers that can be shared between all computers on a network. You can save on software too many software companies offer businesses software deals that are more affordable than purchasing separate software license for each computer, it also can save time when the time to upgrade to a new version of a software you can just update it on a server instead of doing it on each computer.
Another way of saving money is that you can share the internet too. As you can see networking computers has many advantages and it is recommended to network. As I mentioned above the way the networks are laid out are called topology, today you will come across the networks that laid out uniquely using one type of topology or combination of different types of topologies these kind of topologies are also called a “Hybrid Topology".
The Bus Topology is older topology that is not seen that often and almost never used in modern networks. It is very easy to set up because all the computers are connected to each other using a single cable which is called a backbone or segment. Because all the computers connected to a bus network to one cable only one computer can send packets of data (which are electronic signals) at a time. Bus topologies have some advantages they are easy to set up, and since they are on one line of cable if one computer fails it does not crash the entire network. They are also very inexpensive to set up because less cable is used.
Despite the advantages of a bus topology there disadvantages too. One of the disadvantages of a bus topology is that if the cable used breaks, the entire cable needs to be replaced, and if the cable is too long it will hard to find out where the cable is broken. The bus topology is also not very scalable if you have a small network it will be hard to expand it. It is also not very secure network. Even though the Bus topology is very easy to set up and inexpensive I t is very outdated, it should not be used in a modern networks.
The Star Topology is a topology mostly used in modern networks although it is an older topology too, many modifications has been made to it to handle all the modern networking needs. In a star topology all the computers are connected separately to the Hub or Switch, and all computers have their own cable. When a computer sends the packets of data to other computers in the network it is sent through the cable to the hub or switch, then it passes the data packet to other computers that are connected to it.
Since the computers in a star topology are connected to the switch separately and all the computers have their own cables, in case it brakes it is easy to configure the problem. The computer that breaks down is the only computer that will not have access to the network, and all the other computer are not affected because they have their own cables connected to the switch. Another benefit the star topology has is that it is scalable and can be expanded anytime. The star topology is the most used topology in modern networks and it is recommended to use the star topology if you are setting up a network.