The Elements of a Basic Computer Network
July 6, 2012
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Anyone can benefit from understanding more about networking and computer technology, whether you’re a computer technician or an average office worker. Computer networks are everywhere—where we work, where we eat, where we shop, and where we live.
A computer network is any combination of computers and other devices that are connected by a central Internet signal. Below are the basic elements of a computer network, and the setup described is what you’d most likely use in a home environment.
Modem. The first thing you need to start a network is a modem that’s connected to an ISP (Internet Service Provider). A central Internet connection is the foundation of a network.
Router. While the Internet service provides you with the means to create a network, the next step is to hook up the modem to a router, which serves as a hub that distributes the Internet connection. In business environments, the router would be replaced by switches, which allow you to multiply the amount of connections you distribute, or by a server, which becomes the mainframe for storing data from all connected hardware.
Ethernet cords. If you are using wired connections, you need Ethernet cords to connect the router to computers, printers, or other devices.
Network adapters. Once your devices are connected to the router, they can read the internet signal because they have a network adapter. Most of today’s computers have network adapters built in, whether they are compatible with wired or wireless Internet connections. If you don’t use Ethernet cords to connect one or more of your devices, then you need wireless adapters that enable them to pick up the wireless signal from the router.
Devices. The last step to creating a network is assembling the actual devices. The hardware you use can include desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, TVs, gaming systems, stereos, and even cell phones and tablets. If your cell phone or tablet connects to your wireless Internet at home, then you can technically consider it as part of your network. As long as you have two or more devices using your Internet, you can consider it a computer network.