A network computer is one that's designed work on a centrally managed computer network. These computers typically lack any type of disk drive or expansion slots. Instead, they depend on network servers for data storage and processing power. The benefits of using this type of computer are twofold: reduced ownership and operating costs and quieter operation. A bigger question to consider is what is the purpose of a computer network? Here's everything you need to know about computer networks, including an explanation of the different types of available networks.
What Is the Purpose of a Computer Network?
Computer networks are groups of computer hardware devices linked together to enable resource sharing and communication between multiple users. This has many benefits, including:
- Easy communications: Network computers are interconnected. This connectivity allows different users to communicate through the network more easily, more efficiently, and less expensively than if they were on separate networks.
- Data sharing: Another way that connectivity benefits individuals and businesses alike is by sharing and accessing data quickly and easily.
- Data security: Administrators at businesses are much more capable of protecting and managing sensitive and critical data because it's centralized on servers. Everyone can find the data, and administrators can perform backups regularly and implement the necessary security measures to maintain the network.
Types of Computer Networks
Networks are the backbones of modern businesses. They're utilized for everything from downloading email attachments to printing documents to getting on the internet. No matter if you plan to become a Mobile Web Specialist or a Machine Learning Engineer, understanding the fundamentals of computer networks is essential for building a strong foundation in the skills and expertise you need.
The type of computer network is often determined based on its characteristics. There are several different types, including:
- Personal area network (PAN): Basic and small, a PAN typically consists of an internet connection, wireless modem, and a couple of computers and mobile devices. These are often found in homes or small offices.
- Local area network (LAN): This is among the most common simple networks. It groups computers and connected devices together within a building or group of buildings that are physically located close together.
- Wireless local area network (WLAN): This type of network functions much like LANs but uses wireless technology instead of physical cables to allow users to connect to it.
- Campus area network (CAN): This type of network is usually found in colleges and universities, large school districts, and some small businesses. It can extend across multiple buildings located relatively close together.
- Wide area network (WAN): A network that allows computers and other devices to connect remotely across long distances. The internet is a terrific example; it connects every online computer around the world.
- Metropolitan area network (MAN): A midsize network with a greater reach than a LAN but smaller distance than a WAN. It spans a specific geographic area, including cities or towns.
- Enterprise private network (EPN): A business-owned and created network that allows businesses to connect multiple locations to a shared computer network.
- Virtual private network (VPN): A private network that stretches across the internet, allowing users to send and receive information remotely using a virtual connection.
Are you thinking of working with computer networks? Browse the Udacity catalog to find the courses you need to jump start your dreams.