Chapter 1: Understanding Networks

In This Chapter

check.png Introducing computer networks

check.png Finding out all about clients, servers, and peers

check.png Understanding the various types of networks

check.png Figuring out the disadvantages of networking

The first computer network was invented when ancient mathematicians connected their abacuses (or is it abaci?) with kite string so they could instantly share their abacus answers with each other. Over the years, computer networks have become more and more sophisticated. Now, instead of string, networks use electrical cables, fiber optic cables, or wireless radio signals to connect computers to each other. The purpose, however, has remained the same: sharing information and getting work done faster.

This chapter describes the basics of what computer networking is and how it works.

Defining a Network

A network is simply two or more computers, connected, so that they can exchange information (such as e-mail messages or documents) or share resources (say, disk storage or printers). In most cases, this connection is made via electrical cables that carry the information ...

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