Types of Networks and How They Work

Computers communicate over networks by using unique addresses assigned by system software. A computer message, called a packet, frame, or datagram, includes the address of the destination computer and the sender's return address. The three most common types of networks are broadcast, point-to-point, and switched. Once popular token-based networks (such as FDDI and Token Ring) are rarely seen anymore.

Speed is important to the proper functioning of the Internet. Newer specifications (cat 6 and cat 7) are being standardized for 1000BaseT (10 gigabits per second, called gigabit Ethernet, or GIG-E) and faster networking. Some of the networks that form the backbone of the Internet run at speeds up to almost 10 giga ...

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