Understanding Networking

What is Networking

Networking is getting together with friends or co-workers. When you meet people at a party that is also considered networking. When you are online using social media to talk to everyone, this is networking. So, using the same concept, computer networks relate to a group of computers. The computers are linked together by networking to share resources, information, and work related documents and so forth.

How Does Networking Work?

A few computers or hundreds can be networked together. Laptops and desktops including a server and even printer sharing, data storage devices, scanners, fax machines, and anything else that can communicate can be networked together.

When you meet people online or in person, somebody has to be available to help with the conversation and keep it all on track. This is known as a data center in the computer world of networking. It will usually be located in the server room.

The headquarters of the networking team is always the data center. The equipment is kept in a cool room that usually is air conditioned to control the temperature. If computers overheat, it can damage parts fast. The same goes for the data center. The whole network can go down if one thing goes wrong. The file storage department can be entirely lost if a connection comes un-soldered. Even a simple spider web can short out the communications side of the house. Then, no transmissions will be received coming in or none going out on the network.

On the computer side, since they are all connected in the network, if one computer goes down, it could possibly damage the entire network. Here is an example. On Christmas tree lights, when is out, the whole strings goes out also. If a virus hits a computer, it can spread throughout the entire network in a manner of minutes. That is the worst case scenario of course. A computer can usually alert you immediately when it happens and you can get the computer shut down and have just minimal damage.

Types of Networks

There are several different types of networks just like there are different groups of friends you associate with.  Here are the four more common networks, what hardware do they use, and why are they different:

Personal Area Network (PAN)

These are very short range networks. These are typically used between two devices you might have on your body or very close by.  For example a bluetooth headset and your cell or mobile phone will communicate of a personal area network.  Another example would be like going out to lunch with one of your friends the two of you play a game using bluetooth or infrared.  The term PAN is not currently used very often but seems to be pushed by many of the gadget manufacturers.

Local Area Network (LAN)

This is the most well known type of network.  This is usually your home or office network where a group of desktop computers communicate together.  A LAN is usually contained within a building or floor.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A MAN can be found throughout large towns or citys and allows for local businesses and internet service providers to communicate.  Most MAN networks are Ethernet or SONET based networks.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

This one is easy. Think of instant messaging everyone through Skype, Yahoo, Google, and any chat program. Hubs and switches are used to control the flow of communications and data over a long distance. International and national companies uses WAN’s to keep employees connected in the company.

Just imagine physical interactions between people and groups of people. Networking is the same way. Sit with an IT person sometime to see how things work or sign up for a local class to learn more. It really is a fun world using computer networking.

What is Ethernet Networking?

Ethernet is a type networking technology for allowing computers to communicate.  Currently it's the most common type of networking technology is use today.  Ethernet what's known as a broadcast media.  What this means is ethernet is very "chatty".  The key part of the word Ethernet is "Ether" or air.   An easy way to understand ethernet networking is to think about how people communicate.

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