Today, Computer networks form the backbone of most enterprises big or small around the world. Computer networks allow people remote to the computer to access the information available to that computer. Computer networks are being used to provide resource sharing between systems separated from a few to thousands of kilometers. This technology is leading many corporations to take advantage of the reduced price and increased performance in the workplace.
The dictionary defines a network as a “group of computers and associated devices that are connected by communications facilities.” Thus, a network can be anything from two computers connected by a serial cable to thousands of computers connected by high-speed data communication links dispersed throughout the world. In other words, computer network is a group of computers and associated peripherals connected by a communications channel capable of sharing files and other resources between several users.
Benefits of Networking:
A network provides three principle benefits: the ability to communicate, the ability to share hardware and software, and administrative support.
a). Information sharing and communicating:
The ability to communicate and share of information, inexpensively is one fo the popular benefits of networking technology. A network supports communication among users in ways that other media cannot. E-mail, the most popular form of network communication, provides low-cost, printable correspondence with the capability for forwarding, acknowledgment, storage, retrieval, and attachments.
b). Sharing of hardware and software:
Sharing involves not only information (database records, e-mail, graphics, etc.), but also resources (applications, printers, modems, disk space, scanners, etc.) Through its ability to share, a network promotes collaboration. This is the main attraction of popular software called “groupware” that is designed to allow multiple users to hold electronic meetings and work concurrently on projects
c). Centralized administration and support:
Networking simplifies administration and support tasks. The network administrator can perform administrative tasks on any computer on the network from just a single location. Also, it is more efficient for personnel to support one version of OS or application than to oversee a number of individual and unique systems and setups.