A computer network includes at least two computers communicating with each other. Although modern computers are fast and powerful, they are even more useful when they can work with other computers. In addition to allowing communication between computers, a computer network allows Macs to share files, hardware, and software.
There are two basic types of networks: server networks and peer networks. Server-based networks have a central computer serving the files and data to the attached client computers. On peer-based networks, each computer holds its own files and shares them directly with the other computers on the network. The server and peer-based networks are illustrated in Figure 20-1.
With the emergence of standard protocols used in both Windows and Mac OS X, networking is easier than ever. The largest computer network is the Internet, which is covered in Chapter 4. This chapter focuses on local networks of computers attached to your Mac, on your wireless network, and on remote networking that allows you to access your work network from a distance.
Server-based (top) and peer-based (bottom) networks compared
The best tool for creating a Mac server network is using Apple’s Mac OS X Server software ($499, www.apple.com/server/macosx). The most recent edition, Snow Leopard Server, is a 64-bit operating system with advanced ...