NETWORKS: COMMUNICATING AND SHARING RESOURCES
This chapter focuses on the fundamentals of computer networking. As students continue on their journey toward
computer fluency, they will need to be informed and literate about networking and know about its benefits and
possibilities. This chapter explains the essential concepts of computer networking and teaches the basic
networking terms students will need to discuss the subject intelligently.
The major sections in this chapter are:
The basic components of a network are defined, as are the standards for
communicating over a network. The types of networks are identified, and the benefits of networking are
explained. This section also covers how modems transform digital computer signals into the analog tones
suited for the telephone system.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Networking
. This section discusses that when you connect two or
more computers, you see gains in every aspect of computing, especially with regards to efficiency and
costs—reduced hardware costs, application sharing, sharing information resources, centralizing data
management, and connecting people. This section also discusses the disadvantages of networking, which
include loss of autonomy, lack of privacy, security threats, and loss of productivity.
Local Area Networks (LANs)
. The basic components of a local area network are identified, including
special hardware and software. Various networking models for LANs are explained. LAN topologies and
protocols are also introduced.
Wide Area Networks (WANs)
. Identifies the basic components of a wide area network. This section
discusses POPs, backbones, WAN protocols, and WAN technologies. The concepts of packet switching
and circuit switching are also discussed in this section.
—In a wide area network (WAN), such as the Internet, a high-speed, high-capacity medium that
transfers data over hundreds or thousands of miles. A variety of physical media are used for backbone services,
including microwave relay, satellites, and dedicated telephone lines.
—The physical layout of a local area network that does not use a central or host computer. Instead,
each node manages part of the network, and information is transmitted directly from one computer to another.
—A type of telecommunications network in which high-speed electronic switches create a direct
connection between two communicating devices. The telephone system is a circuit-switching network.
—In a client/server network, a program that runs on users’ computers and enables them to access a certain
type of data.
—A computer network in which some computers are dedicated to function as servers,
making information available to client programs running on users’ computers.