What is a Computer Network?

It is basically a set of technologies, that can be either hardware, software or media, used to connect computers together, building a communication bridge between them, so that they can exchange information and share resources.

This can be easily understood by the fig below. This illustrates that networking enables our devices to connect to each other and communicate important data easily.

In the presence of network
In the absence of network
Benefits of Networking.

Resource Sharing

The peripheral devices connected over the network can share and access the significant data between multiple users. Networks introduce new ways to communicate such as email and instant messaging. Along with that the sharing of single hardware devices among many computers has helped the industry sector a lot. Example of such devices is printers or scanners.

File Sharing

This can be done by storing files on a central computer(the file server) which allows the data to be shared throughout the organization. In this system only authorized users have permission to share the files on the network. This technique is beneficial for large organizations where they have to maintain their data in an organized manner and facilitate access to desired people.

Personal Communications

The spread in the use of networking technology has increased the demand of teleconferencing. It is a kind of multi-way communication carroed out in real-time using computer networks and other equipment. Subcategories of teleconferencing include

  • Videoconferencing- enables real-time communication over a distance by allowing people to communicate with each other. It also provides the facility to see the video of the other party. it creates an effect of virtual presence by allowing two or more persons at a distant site to see and talk to each other. The devices involved in it are a camera, microphone, loudspeaker, monitors, and CODEC(compressor/decompressor).
  • Audioconferencing-it provides an audio communication facility similar to conventional telephones, in much high-quality audio. This communication is facilitated by a sensitive microphone and echo cancellation software.
  • Data-conferencing– it has a shared workplace for the participants to share and receive data on their computers. it might be in the form of “application sharing” where a piece of software is controlled on both ends. Or it can also use “whiteboard” which allows the two parties to draw and wrote on an on-screen notepad viewed by everyone.

Simultaneous Access

In a shared system where multiple users access the same data faces the problem of inconsistency in data. It becomes difficult to determine which copy of data is the most recent one. One of the ways to resolve this is a non-networked environment, which requires separate copies of programs. But this is expensive and time-consuming. And to overcome this drawback there are two basic solutions.

  • Site License – for this single application copy is bought and licensed is copied to every required system. This is less costly as compared to individual licenses.
  • Network versions – where one copy of the application program runs on the central server. Only necessary files are copied to an individual user’s PC.


Sensitive data in an organization needs to be backed up to prevent any major loss. For backup purposes shared central storage device can be used or regular backups of data on shared devices can be created by the network manager.

Networking Applications

  • GPS (Global Positioning System) – uses satellites and a receiver to determine the exact geographic location of the receiver. It is commonly used by individuals used to determine their exact location. It is also used on the job by surveyors, farmers, and fishermen. To guide vehicles and equipment it is used.
  • Monitoring systems – Monitor status or location of individuals, vehicles, assets are recorded using networks. Monitoring of physical location of objects. Electronic medical monitors and other types of home health monitoring is also one of its application.
  • Telemedicine – networking technology is used to provide medical services to patients. Remote monitoring and consultation are also provided. Along with that remote diagnosis and telesurgery is also a benefit of the networking system.

This document covers the basics of networking, its benefits, and applications, how it has benefited all industry sectors, and makes work easy to do. A detailed study of networks will be discussed in the next articles.

Also check: Operating System

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