Networking and Internet
1. What is a computer network? Give its advantages.
Ans: A ‘computer network’ refers to a collection of two or more computers (nodes) that are
connected together to share information and resources. Nodes are connected if they are capable of
exchanging information with each other. Today, computer networks are being used in every facet of life,
as it provides the following advantages:
Sharing information: This is one of the most important advantages of a computer network. In
the absence of a network, transferring information from one computer to another requires use of
a compact disk, floppy disk, printer, etc. However, if the communicating systems are geographi-
cally apart, sharing information becomes even harder. Computer networks solve this problem, as
computers connected to a network can share information whether they are in the same building
or when they are located geographically apart. For example, when we connect to the Internet,
we can open any website on our computer and can access information that is not stored in our
own computers.
Sharing hardware resources: A network facilitates sharing of hardware resources in an effective
and user-friendly manner. When computers are connected to a network, they can share peripherals
such as printer and hard disk drives with any other computer. For example, in an office having five
to ten computers and one printer, in the absence of network, only the computer that is connected to
the printer can be used to print data. If others have to access the printer, then they would first need
to transfer their data to the computer connected to the printer. Contrastive to this, in a networked
environment, the printer can be shared on the network and every computer on the network can
easily access the printer without having the need to transfer data.
Sharing software resources:Software resources are the programs or applications that are used by
computers to perform any useful function or to carry out daily basis task. In an environment where
networking is not available, users will have to install and configure any applications that they need
individually. However, if the computers are connected via a network, the required software or
application can be installed and configured centrally on a server and shared by all. This saves the
valuable time and disk space.
Preserve information: In addition to sharing information, a networked environment helps to pre-
serve information as well. It is difficult to maintain regular backups of data on a number of stand-
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