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Windows XP in a Nutshell, Second Edition by Troy Mott, Tim O'Reilly, David A. Karp

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Chapter 7. Networking

A network is established when two or more computers are connected to each other for the purpose of exchanging data. Although networks have been common in large companies for decades, they’re becoming more common in homes and small offices, not only because these environments are getting more computers, but because networking is becoming easier, cheaper, and more useful.

Among the things you can do with a simple network are the following:

File sharing

Documents and even some applications stored on one computer can be accessed by another computer on the network, as though they were on the remote computer’s hard disk. Put an end to walking floppies!

Device sharing

Printers connected to one computer can be used by any other computer on the network. The same goes for many scanners, backup devices, and even high-speed Internet devices, such as DSL and cable modems.

Online gaming

Networkable games can be played against other users on your local network or even over the Internet; after all, it’s more fun blowing up your friends than computer-generated characters.

Communication

Send and receive email, chat, and even videoconference across the room or the country in seconds, over any type of network connection.

Web

The Web has become ubiquitous. Using Internet Explorer or the web browser of your choice, you can retrieve information from the other side of the world as easily as the other side of town.

Data collaboration

A network connection allows two or more users to simultaneously ...

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