Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Computer Networks

Computer network
A computer network is a group of interconnected computers. Networks may be classified according to a wide variety of characteristics. This article provides a general overview of some types and categories and also presents the basic components of a network.


The network allows computers to communicate with each other and share resources and information. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) designed "Advanced Research Projects Agency Network" (ARPANET) for the United States Department of Defense. It was the first computer network in the world in late 1960s and early 1970s.

Network classification
The following list presents categories used for classifying networks.

Connection method
Computer networks can also be classified according to the hardware and software technology that is used to interconnect the individual devices in the network, such as Optical fiber, Ethernet, Wireless LAN, HomePNA, Power line communication or G.hn. Ethernet uses physical wiring to connect devices. Frequently deployed devices include hubs, switches, bridges and/or routers.
Wireless LAN technology is designed to connect devices without wiring. These devices use radio waves or infrared signals as a transmission medium.
ITU-T G.hn technology uses existing home wiring (coaxial cable, phone lines and power lines) to create a high-speed (up to 1 Gigabit/s) local area network.
Wired Technologies
Twisted-Pair Wire - This is the most widely used medium for telecommunication. Twisted-pair wires are ordinary telephone wires which consist of two insulated copper wires twisted into pairs and are used for both voice and data transmission. The use of two wires twisted together helps to reduce crosstalk and electromagnetic induction. The transmission speed range from 2 million bits per second to 100 million bits per second.
Coaxial Cable – These cables are widely used for cable television systems, office buildings, and other worksites for local area networks. The cables consist of copper or aluminum wire wrapped with insulating layer typically of a flexible material with a high dielectric constant, all of which are surrounded by a conductive layer. The layers of insulation help minimize interference and distortion. Transmission speed range from 200 million to more than 500 million bits per second.
Fiber Optics – These cables consist of one or more thin filaments of glass fiber wrapped in a protective layer. It transmits light which can travel over long distance and higher bandwidths. Fiber-optic cables are not affected by electromagnetic radiation. Transmission speed could go up to as high as trillions of bits per second. The speed of fiber optics is hundreds of times faster than coaxial cables and thousands of times faster than twisted-pair wire.

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