Chapter 1

Understanding Basic Networking

The following topics are covered in this chapter:

  • Understanding the Functions of Networking
  • What Is a Network?
  • Common Physical Components of a Network
  • Interpreting a Network Diagram
  • Resource-Sharing Functions and Benefits
  • Network User Applications
  • Impact of User Applications on the Network
  • Characteristics of a Network
  • Physical Topologies
  • Connection to the Internet

You’d have to work pretty hard these days to find someone who would argue that our computers have not become invaluable to us personally and professionally. Our society has become highly dependent on these resources and on sharing them. The ability to communicate with those we need to—whether they’re in the same building or in some faraway land—completely hinges on our capacity to create and maintain solid, dependable networks.

And those vitally important networks come in all shapes and sizes—ranging from small and simple to humongous and super complicated. But whatever their flavor, they all need to be maintained properly, and to do that well, you’ve got to understand networking basics. The various types of devices and technologies that are used to create networks, as well as how they work together, is what this book is about, and I’ll go through this critical information one step at a time with you. Understanding all of this will not only equip you with a rock-solid base to build on as you grow in your IT knowledge and career, it will also arm you with what you’ll ...

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