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Define Network with examples. Give importance of Computer Network.

COMPUTER NETWORK
We can define a Computer Network as a set of two or more connected computers to share information and other resources (data, files, printers, hard disk, modem, CD-Rom Drive, CDWriter, DVD-Rom Drive, DVD-Writer etc.). The computers in a network can share: Data, Information, Files, Software, Hardware (printers, disk, modems)etc.

EXAMPLES OF COMPUTER NETWORK

Computer network can be used in an office. Different people in the office can share common information and printer. Net Cafes use Computer Network for internet sharing. Net Cafe Owners can save money by sharing one DSL Routers / Modem and a single Internet Connection. Computer Network is used in Computer Laboratories of Schools, Colleges and other educational institutes. Internet, is also an example of a computer network. Internet is a network of millions of computers connected through phone lines. People can share information, files and talk with one another through internet.

ADVANTAGES OF COMPUTER NETWORKS


Following are some important advantages of computer networks:

1. Data and Information Sharing


Different employees of an organization can share common information with the help of computer network.

2. Software Sharing
Different software can be shared with the help of computer networks.

3. Hardware Sharing
Different hardware can be shared with the help of computer networks. For example, if there are five computer users in an office, we can save cost by using only one printer with the help of computer networking. In a computer network, only one computer will manage all printing needs of the computer users in a small office. In addition, we can share other hard ware devices like hard disks, CD-Rom Drives / Writers, modems, routers and scanners etc.

4. Money Saving
We can save a lot of money by using computer networking, because of sharing the same software and hardware in a network.

5. Internet Sharing
We can buy only one DSL internet connection and share it with in whole organization with the help of computer networking.

6. Easy Communication within Organization


We can send and receive messages and files through network. In this way, a file can be moved to one place to another within an organization without the need of a physical worker to take and carry the files to a destination. With the help of a command in a computer we can transfer file within seconds from one room to another.

7. Easy Communication Outside Organization


We can send and receive emails and share files with other people outside organization using internet.

Explain different types of computer networks: (LAN, WAN, MAN)


Main types of computer networks are: 1. LAN - Local-Area Network 2. WAN - Wide-Area Network 3. MAN - Metropolitan-Area Network

1) LAN (Local Area Network)


LAN stands for Local Area Network. It covers a small area. Most LANs are used to connect computers in a single building or group of near buildings. Hundreds or thousands of computers may be connected through LAN. LANs are used in office buildings, college or university campus etc. Local Area Networks can transfer data at a very high speed. Data transmission speeds of LAN are 1 to 100 megabits per second. Examples: Following are two examples of LAN:

LAN is used in a computer lab to connect computers. The students can share software, files and data in the lab. In Internet cafe, many computers can be connected through LAN. These computers can share single connection of Internet. Local Area Network can be used in an office to share common data and a network printer and any other software or hardware. A local area network in a digital library can provide access to centralized collection of digital books for many readers using different computers in library building.

2) WAN (Wide Area Network)


WAN stands for wide area network. It covers a large area. WAN connects computers in different cities, countries and continents. So, Wide Area Networks are used to transfer data over very long distances across cities, countries or even in whole world. WANs are used to connect LANs and other types of networks together, so that users and computers in one location can communicate with users and computers in other locations. Computers in WAN are often connected through leased lines telephone lines. They can also be connected through satellites. Transmission rate of WAN is 56 kbps to 45 Mbps. WAN is expensive than LAN. WAN is not as fast as LAN. There is a possibility of error in data transmission due to very long distance they cover. The largest WAN is the Internet. With the help of internet, we can send our data in any part of the world.

Examples of WAN

In air line ticketing system, many offices of an air line company can be joined together using WAN. A person can get a ticket from any office in the country. A bank with many branches in different cities can connect its branches through WAN. The customer can use his account from any branch.

3) MAN (Metropolitan-Area Network)


A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a network that covers an area of the size of a city. So, a MAN is larger than a local area network but it is smaller than a WAN. A MAN is optimized for a larger geographical area than a LAN, ranging from several blocks of buildings to entire cities. MANs can use communications channels of moderate-to-high data transfer rates. It may use fiber Optic cable for fast speeds. A MAN typically includes one or more LANs but cover a small area than WAN. A MAN often acts as a high-speed network. Example: Mobile phones systems often use MAN. Many local ISPs manage MAN with the help of cable modems within a city. Local cable TV networks also uses MAN technologies. The differences between LAN and WAN is as follows:

LAN (Local Area Network)


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. LAN is used to connect computers at one place, in one room or a building. LAN covers small and limited area. Data transfer speed is very fast in LAN because of small distance. Local Area network speed is normally form 1 to l00 Mbps. LAN is less costly. LAN is usually connected through wires. Normally, the connection in a LAN is permanent using wires. LAN is used for sharing data, information, files and hardware like printers, hard disk, modem etc. 9. LAN has less possibility of data transmission error. 10. LAN is used to transfer data over small distances. 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 LAN is easy to install and configure. LAN is easy to troubleshoot.

WAN (Wide Area Network)


WAN is used to connect computers anywhere in the world. WAN can cover larger area. It can cover cities, countries and even continents. Data transfer speed is slower in WAN. Transmission speeds are normally 56 kbps to 45 Mbps. The hardware needed for a WAN is more expensive. WAN is usually connected through telephone lines, fiber optic cable or through wireless media. The connection in WAN may not be permanent. WAN is used to share only data and information like Email and file transfer WAN has more possibility of data transmission error because of long distance. WAN is used to transfer data over long distances. WAN is difficult to install and configure due to connecting computers at multiple and distant sites. WANs are difficult to troubleshoot.

What is a Network Topology?


Network topology is the shape of the network. It is the physical layout of connected devices in a network. It tells us how a network will look like. The characteristics of a network depend upon the network topology selected.

Explain different types of network topologies


Different network topologies are as follows: 1. Bus Topology 2. Ring Topology 3. Star Topology 4. Tree Topology 5. Mesh Topology

1. Bus Topology

Bus topology is the simplest network topology. In bus topology, all computers in network are connected to a common communication wire. This wire is called BUS. Terminators are used at both ends of wire.

2. Star Topology
Star Topology is the most popular and widely used network topology in local area networks. In star topology, all computers are connected with a central device known as HUB or Switch. Nowa-days Hubs are often replaced by Fast Network Switches. The sender computer sends data to the hub. The hub sends it to the destination computer. So, all data communication is managed through HUB or Switch. Note: The major difference between a Networking Hub and Networking Switch is that HUB sends data to all computers, and the destination computer will accept it while other computers will not. On the other hand, Switch sends data only to the destination computer. Therefore, switch can reduce network traffic and hence provides fast transmission speed.

3. Ring Topology
In Ring topology, each computer is connected to the next computer such that last computer is connected to the first. Every computer is connected to next computer in the ring. Each computer retransmits what it receives from the previous computer. Suppose, computer A needs to send data to computer D. Now the computer A sends data to computer B. As computer B is not the destination computer, so it will retransmit data to computer C. Finally, Computer C will transfer data to computer D, the destination computer. When a node sends a message, the message is processed by each computer in the ring. If a computer is not the destination node, it will pass the message to the next node, until the message arrives at its destination.

4. Tree Topology
Actually, a Tree topology is the combination of two topologies: bus and star topology. A tree topology combines the characteristics of bus and star topologies. It consists of groups of computer connected as star topology. These groups are then connected to a central communication medium (bus cable).

5. Mesh Topology
In a mesh topology, every device on the network is physically connected to every other device on the network. Therefore, data can be sent on several possible paths from source computer to destination computer. Mesh topology is more reliable with better performance. It is mostly used in wide area networks where reliability is important.

Advantages of Bus Network Topology


1. It is very simple topology. 2. It is easy to use. 3. It needs small amount of wire for connecting computers. 4. It is less expensive due to small wire needed. 5. If one computer fails, it does not disturb the other computers in network. Other computers will continue to share information and other resources with other connected computers.

Disadvantages of Bus Network Topology


1. Only small number of computers can be connected in a bus network. 2. Network speed slows down as the number of computer increases in bus topology. 3. Finding a fault is difficult in bus topology.

Star Topology
Star Topology is the most popular and widely used network topology in local area networks. In star topology, all computers are connected with a central device known as HUB or Switch. Nowa-days Hubs are often replaced by Fast Network Switches. The sender computer sends data to the hub. The hub sends it to the destination computer. So, all data communication is managed through HUB or Switch. Note: The major difference between a Networking Hub and Networking Switch is that HUB sends data to all computers, and the destination computer will accept it while other computers will not. On the other hand, Switch sends data only to the destination computer. Therefore, switch can reduce network traffic and hence provides fast transmission speed.

Advantages of Star Network Topology


1. Easy Installation and maintenance
It is easy to maintain network. That is why it is so popular.

2. Adding or removing computers


Adding or removing computers can be done without disturbing the network. We connect the new computer with the HUB by means of a networking cable. One end of the cable (RJ 45 connector) is inserted in computers Network Interface Card and the other end (RJ 45 connector) is plugged into the HUB, and thats it.

3. Fault Diagnosis
In a star network topology, finding faults is easy. If a computer is no more connected with your network, you can check its cable and connectors or network settings in its Operating system.

4. Network Reliability
Single computer failure will not disturb whole network, since all other computers are connected with separate links ( wires ) to HUB. Definitely, they will work fine.

5. Better performance
Star topology can prevents the passing of data through an excessive number of nodes. By using a Switch, at most, 3 devices and 2 links are involved in any communication between any two devices. 6. Device Isolation Each device is separately connected to HUB or Switch and is isolated. This is why each device works independently.

Disadvantages of Star Network Topology


1. In star network topology, data communication depends on HUB. If central hub fails, then whole network fails. 2. Since each computer will be connected with HUB by means of a separate wire, star network topology needs more cable to connect computers. 3. It is more expensive due to more wires.

Ring Topology
In Ring topology, each computer is connected to the next computer such that last computer is connected to the first. Every computer is connected to next computer in the ring. Each computer retransmits what it receives from the previous computer. Suppose, computer A needs to send data to computer D. Now the computer A sends data to computer B. As computer B is not the destination computer, so it will retransmit data to computer C. Finally, Computer C will transfer data to computer D, the destination computer. When a node sends a message, the message is processed by each computer in the ring. If a computer is not the destination node, it will pass the message to the next node, until the message arrives at its destination.

Advantages of Ring Network Topology


1. It is relatively less expensive than a star topology network. 2. In a Ring topology, every computer has an equal access to the network. 3. Performs better than a bus topology under heavy network load

Disadvantages of Ring Network Topology


1. Failure of one computer in the ring can affect the whole network. 2. It is difficult to find faults in a ring network topology. 3. Adding or removing computers will also affect the whole network since every computer is connected with previous and next computer. 4. Sending a message from one computer to another takes time according to the number of nodes between the two computers. Communication delay is directly proportional to number of nodes in the network.

Tree Topology
Actually, a Tree topology is the combination of two topologies: bus and star topology. A tree topology combines the characteristics of bus and star topologies. It consists of groups of computer connected as star topology. These groups are then connected to a central communication medium (bus cable).

Advantages of Tree Network Topology


1. Many software and hardware vendors support tree topology. 2. It provides point-to-point wiring for individual groups.

Disadvantages of Tree Network Topology


1. If the main backbone line breaks, the entire tree network goes down. 2. It is more difficult to configure and maintain. 3. If any hub fails, related segment will be removed from the network.

Mesh Topology
In a mesh topology, every device on the network is physically connected to every other device on the network. Therefore, data can be sent on several possible paths from source computer to destination computer. Mesh topology is more reliable with better performance. It is mostly used in wide area networks where reliability is important.

Advantages of Mesh Network Topology


1. Since, there are many links to transfer data, Mesh topology gets rid of the traffic problem. Data may be transferred through different links. 2. If one link becomes unusable, it does not disturb the whole system. Other links can be used for communication. 3. Since each node has physical connection with other nodes, therefore, one node can transfer data to many nodes at the same time.

Disadvantages of Mesh Network Topology


1. It is very expensive due to implementation of multiple links for each node. 2. It is difficult to install and reconfigure. 3. Adding or removing a computer is difficult.