Chapter 1

Let’s Network!


Getting a handle on networks

Considering why networking is useful (and is everywhere)

Telling the difference between servers and clients

Looking under the hood at the network operating system

Asking “How does it work when a network works if a network works for me?” (Say what?)

Assessing how networks change computing life

Identifying (and offering sympathy to) the network administrator

Comparing servers to clients: What have they got that you don’t got?

Computer networks get a bad rap in the movies. In the 1980s, the Terminator movies featured Skynet, a computer network that becomes self-aware (a computer network of the future), takes over the planet, builds deadly terminator robots, and sends them back through time to kill everyone unfortunate enough to have the name Sarah Connor. In the Matrix movies, a vast and powerful computer network enslaves humans and keeps them trapped in a simulation of the real world. And in the 2015 blockbuster Spectre, James Bond goes rogue (again) to prevent the Evil Genius Ernst Blofeld from taking over the world (again) by linking the computer systems of all the world’s intelligence agencies together to form a single all-powerful evil network that spies on everybody.

Fear not. These bad networks exist only in the dreams of science fiction writers. Real-world networks are much more calm and predictable. Although sophisticated networks do seem to know a lot about you, they don’t think for themselves and they ...

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