What is Networking Explained with Examples

This tutorial explains the definition, purpose, benefits and the essential components of computer networking in detail. Learn what the computer networking is and what the advantages of computer networking are in easy language with examples.

What is the Computer Networking?

Computer networking is the subject which explains how computers connect with each other for sharing resource and information and what technologies and devices they use for connectivity.

Benefits of Networking

Computer networking provides following benefits.

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

Purpose of Computer Networking

The main purpose of computer networking is sharing. In computer networks where we have a lot of things to share, networking is the single best solution. Through networking, we can mainly share three things; Data, resources, and applications. Let’s understand each of these in detail.

Data sharing

Networking allows us to exchange data between computers. Traditional methods of data transportation (such as CD, DVD, USB, etc.) do not work well where data is exchanged frequently.

Let’s take a simple example. Suppose there are two computers which exchange data regularly. Without networking, the following steps will be required to exchange data between them.

  • In sender PC, write data in external device (such as CD, DVD and USB)
  • Take external device to receiver PC
  • In receiver PC, read or copy the data from external device

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

computer network without networking

In this case, networking is the single best solution. It allows us to exchange data between connected devices. Once networking is properly setup between both computers, they can exchange data regularly without any external device.

computer network with networking

Resources Sharing

Networking allows us to share devices among the computers. By sharing the devices, we can reduce the number of required components in network.

Let's understand this with a simple example. Let's say we have four computers that sometimes require a printer.

Without networking, we will have to buy four printers; One for each computer

printer sharing in network

With networking, we only need to buy one printer.

shared printer

There are two types of device: -

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

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

Advance networking technology, such as cloud computing, allows us to share any resource including CPU and RAM, but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial. For beginner level, you should stay with above listed traditional types; shareable and non-shareable. This will help you to understand complex networking concepts in a simple way.

Application Sharing

Just like data and resource, through networking we can also share applications. Application sharing is the most common practice in company environment. In companies, usually a project is assigned to several users or a team which have several members. Networking allows concerned users or members to work on assigned project simultaneously.

Essential components of computer networking

There are four essential components in computer networking: -

  1. End devices
  2. Media
  3. Networking devices
  4. Protocol

End devices

End device is the device which is used to share and access the shared resource such as computer, laptop, smartphone, etc. For networking, at least two end devices are required. Based on the role played by the end device, it can be categorized in two types; client and server.

Client end device

End device that is used to access the shared resources such as PC, Workstation, Smartphone, etc.

Server end device

End device that is used to share the resource such as PC, Server, Network printer, etc.

Let’s take a simple example. Following figure illustrates a computer network.

server client share

In this network: -

  • When printer is accessed by PC-B, PC-A works as server end device and PC-B works as client end device.
  • When internet is accessed by PC-A, PC-B works as server end device and PC-A works as client end device.

This categorization is purely based on the role played by end device in network. A device can be a server device, a client device or both at the same time. The device which is used to access the shared resource is known as client end device while the device which is used to share the resource is known as server end device.

Media

Media provides the connectivity between end devices. Media is categorized in two types; wired and wireless. In wired media, a cable such as coaxial cable, electrical cable, copper cable or fiber optical cable is used to transmit the data while in wireless media, radio spectrum is used to transmit the data.

Based on several factors (such as speed, distance and signal loose) each media type has its own characteristics and limitations. Different types of network require different type of media.

To learn which media type is used in which type of network, you can use this tutorial.
Network Cable Types and Specifications

Networking devices

Depending on the size and functionality of a network, several networking devices are used. For example, to build a small home network, we need only few networking devices whereas to build a company network, we may need several hundred networking devices.

To learn the most common computer networking devices in detail with their functions and specifications, see this tutorial.
Computer Networking Devices Explained with Functions

Protocol

When a computer wants to send data to another computer on the network, it starts a session for transmission. During initialization, both computers finalize the transmission rules such as the speed of the transmission, the size of the data file, the safety measurement and flow control for the transmission. These rules are called protocols.

Technically, protocols are the rules that control and define the data transmission process in network. Protocols are defined in various network models such as TCP/IP Layer model, OSI Layer model.

To learn the types of protocols and how they works in computer network, see this tutorial.
Types of Network Protocol Explained with Functions

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