1. Introduction to Computer Networks

A network can be any connected devices. It can be as small as two computers or as complex as a multisite network such as a telecommunications infrastructure that contains 100s if not 1000s of computers that are connected together.

The common uses of a network are:

  • Communication video conferencing, email, chats, learning, etc…
  • Sharing Hardware – printers, scanners, storage…
  • Sharing data – files.
  • Sharing applications – Microsoft word, spread sheet, specialised software, etc.
  • Data Backup and retrieval

1.1     Types of Networks

1.1.1     LANs and WANs

They types of network used are dictated by the number of locations they span.

LANs – Local Area Networks are restricted to a single location (building, office, school).

WANs – Wide Area Networks spread over multiple geographic locations. They are slower than LANs and more expensive and they tend to use different technologies to connect LANs together to create an internetwork.

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Information systems have become very important in every business not only that, today you can hardly find a business, organisation or even home businesses that doesn’t have a computer network of some sort. These businesses have become very dependent on these systems for their daily day-to-day operations. Thus the effectiveness of organisation’s business performance has become greatly dependant on the availability, reliability and security of these computers and the networks they’re connected to.

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