What is Networking Explained with Examples

This tutorial explains the definition, purpose, and benefits of computer networking. Learn what computer networking is and what the advantages of computer networking are.

What is computer networking?

Computer networking is the subject that explains how computers connect for sharing resources and information and what technologies and devices they use for connectivity.

Benefits of Networking

Computer networking provides the following benefits.

  • It allows us to share data and resources.
  • It helps us in reducing the required number of devices.
  • It allows us to store data in a centralized location.
  • It allows us to implement security policies.
  • It allows us to track and monitor the use of resources.
  • It provides us a platform to communicate with other users in the network.
  • It allows multiple users to work on a single project.

Purpose of Computer Networking

The main purpose of computer networking is sharing. It allows us to share mainly three things; data, resources, and applications. Let's understand each of these in detail.

Data sharing

Networking allows us to share data between connected devices. Let's take a simple example. Suppose two computers exchange data regularly. Without networking, the following steps are required to exchange data between them.

  • On the sender PC, write data on an external device (such as CD, DVD, and USB)
  • Move that external device to the receiver PC
  • On the receiver PC, read or copy the data from that external device

If the data is exchanged 100 times a day, we have to follow these steps 100 times a day. In such a situation, where the data is often exchanged, this method is neither convenient nor appropriate.

computers without networking

In this case, networking is a better solution. Once networking is done, we can exchange any amount of data between connected devices at any time without using any external device.

computers with networking

Resources Sharing

Networking allows us to share devices among computers. By sharing the devices, we can reduce the number of required components in the network. Let's understand this with a simple example.

In a small office, four computers are used. Computers are not connected. Each computer generates some print jobs daily.

To fulfill the print requirement of each computer, without networking, we have to buy four printers; one for each.

sharing resources in network

By connecting these computers through networking, we can reduce the required number of printers up to one. Once networking is done, only one printer will be sufficient to meet the print requirement of all computers.

sharing printer in network

When we reduce the number of essential devices, the cost of the network is also reduced. In the preceding example, without networking, we need four printers whereas, with networking, we only need one printer. Thus, through networking, we can save the cost of three printers.

There are two types of devices: -

Shareable: - Devices that can be shared in the network such as hard disk, printer, modem, scanner, CD, DVD, USB, etc.

Non-Shareable: - Devices that cannot be shared in the network such as CPU, RAM, Motherboard, Monitor, etc.

Although advanced networking techniques, such as cloud computing, allow us to share any resource including the CPU and the RAM, yet for the initial level, you should stick with the traditional types listed above: shareable and non-shareable. This will help you in understanding the complex networking concepts in a simple way.

Application Sharing

Just like data and resources, through networking, we can also share applications. In Application sharing, an application is installed in two parts; server application and client application. Both parts are used to provide and request the service or data, respectively.

Let's take a simple example.

A user connects his system to the Internet and watches a video on YouTube. YouTube, which provides the requested video, is an example of a server application. And the browser or the app, that the user uses to watch the video, is an example of a client application.

application sharing

Application sharing is mostly used in a company environment. In companies, usually, a project is assigned to several users or a team that has several members. Networking allows concerned users or members to work on the assigned project simultaneously. Besides this, it is also used for troubleshooting and accessing a networking device or a computer remotely.

Networking is not necessary always

Networking is a complex process. Adding devices in a network requires special networking devices such as cables, switches, routers, etc. In addition, to add a computer to the network, we also have to adjust or change its configuration settings.

Networking should be done only when it is required. For example, for data sharing, it should be done only when the data that needs to be shared is in a large amount, or it is often exchanged. For example, if you only need to share a single file between two PCs, setting up networking in this situation is a completely worthless idea.

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