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Introduction To Computer Networking

Updated on April 28, 2016
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Patrick is a dedicated technology writer who wishes to make the world better by informing individuals who seek more knowledge.

Introduction to Computer Networking

Computer Networking is the art of connecting two or more computers in order to share peripherals (resources) for instance printers, faxes, photocopiers, CD ROM, and data among others. Hence a computer network will be the interconnection of two or more computers. A computer network can also be defined as any collection of independent computers that exchange information with each other over a shared communication medium.

Computer Networking has Created Efficient Communication

A computer network consists of a group of computers connected together by a specific type of transmission media (the cable that is used to transmit data across the network), network adapters, and network operating systems that support communication protocols. In many instances, data can also be transmitted wirelessly.

You must have heard people saying that the world has become a global village. This is because there has been a lot of networking done all over the world. Communication has been improved and we are able to know what is happening in any part of the world any time.

A Picture of Simple Computer Network

A simple computer network.
A simple computer network. | Source



NOTE: - Protocols:-These are rules that define how two or more computers systems communicate in a network.


A Stand-alone Computer

  • A Computer that is not connected to another is known as a stand-alone computer.
  • Before networks became widespread, computers operated in a stand-alone environment. Information was shared by print outs or copying data to a floppy disk, CD, and passing it to others. This method of data sharing is called sneaker net. This play on words stems from the idea that a person is using their feet, i.e., sneakers, to transfer data instead of through the Internet or an organization’s intranet. If others made changes to the document, there was no easy way to merge the changes.
  • Computer Networks nowadays make work and communication efficient and they also enhance a faster passage of data.

A Computer Network

A Computer Network
A Computer Network | Source

Network Components

In computer networking, components that make a network can be classified into two categories:

  • Hardware
  • Software

Hardware Parts

  • The sender (source): - This is the computer or device that is sending data.
  • The receiver (Destination): - This is the computer or any other device that is intended to receive the transmitted data.
  • Transmission medium: – provides passage of data and it can be in the form of cable or wireless media such as infrared, microwave and radio.
  • Client: - A client is a computer connected on the network accessing the shared resources from a server.
  • Servers: – They are powerful computers that provide shared resources such as storage, printing, email etc, which allows client to access information on a network. The server machine often has a faster CPU, more memory, and more disk space than a typical client machine.

Network Printing

A Good Example of Network Printing
A Good Example of Network Printing | Source

Hardware Parts of a Network

  • Node:- A node is a device that is connected as part of a computer network e.g. computer, PDA, Cell phone, router, switches, servers, printers etc. and can communicate on the network.
  • Host: - The term host can mean:- (1) A computer system that is accessed by a user working at a remote location. Typically, the term is used when there are two computer systems connected by modems and telephone lines. The system that contains the data is called the host, while the computer at which the user sits is called the remote terminal. (2) A computer that is connected to a TCP/IP network, including the Internet. Each host has a unique IP address.
  • Segment: - It is a part or unit of a lager network that is linked by a connecting device such as a hub or router.
  • Backbone: - A link (usually fast) between segments of a network. The backbone or trunk segment is the main cable from which transceiver cables are connected to computers, repeaters and bridges.
  • NIC: - Network Interface Card, it is a device that acts as the physical interface (link) between the computers and the network cables.

Network Interface Card

A Network Interface Card
A Network Interface Card | Source


Software allows computers to communicate over a computer network. They control the network operation and its message traffic and queues. Software includes:-

  1. Network operating system (NOS): - They run on servers, giving the server the ability to share resources e.g. Windows NT, Novel Netware, UNIX, Linux etc.
  2. Client application software: -This is the software that allows a client to access shared resources.

What is a Computer Network?

Do you think Computer Networking is important in the world we are today?

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© 2011 Patrick Kamau


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    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks M.Joseph for reading and commenting. TCP/IP protocols, well I will work on it, keep checking.

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      M.Joseph 6 years ago

      An informative article indeed.Kindly post something about TCP/IP protocols & their roles.

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks Naveen Saini for going through these tutorials and commenting. I am grateful they were of great help to you. Networking is a very interesting topic.

    • profile image

      Naveen Saini 6 years ago


    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      benzo, thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you check on the others too.

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      benzo 6 years ago

      its so interesting program and educative

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thank you cyroh for reading and commenting, you are welcome to read more.

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      cyroh 6 years ago

      i find it helpful too.

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      sonia korejo, your complements are accepted and I am humbled, being a retired IT Tutor, you make me feel like going back to class to my students again. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I wish you the best too.

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      sonia korejo 6 years ago

      thanks for giving important information than others very nice and best of luck