Computer Network Concepts – Easy Guide for Beginners

In our everyday life, we often use or hear the term Network. This term is actually very wide one having domains all across the globe. In a generic way, a Network is simply a group for collaboration and communication. In today`s modern world, we are constantly dealing with networks. Majority of us are very much familiar with Social Network like Facebook. In our offices, we often get benefits from a Computer Network like printer sharing. The mobile phone can`t work in the absence of a Mobile Network as it provides communication signals. That is the power of the network for you.

The applications of Computer Networks are everywhere around us like Mobile Service Providers, Banks, Shopping Marts, Hospitals and many more. A lot of institutes also offer Computer Network Certification Training Courses. However, you have to pay a considerable amount of money to get a Computer Network Certificate. In this way, you can choose a variety of Network Careers for yourself.  Trust me, the Network Career Jobs are highly paid. So, it is very necessary to get started from the basics as every building should have a strong foundation. So, this article is actually a Computer Network Tutorial for Beginners. This tutorial is easy and absolutely free.

Computer Network

What is a Computer Network?

A Computer Network simply consists of various types of devices. These devices connect with each other. Computer Network contains clients, servers, printers, network devices and other types of peripheral devices. The major motives behind Computer Networks are:

  1. Communication
  2. Data or File Sharing
  3. Device or Hardware Sharing
  4. Cost Efficiency
  5. Convenience

Examples of Computer Networks

  1. The Internet we use today is probably the best example of Computer Network. We use it daily for getting information throughout the world regarding sports, admissions, trending products, fashion, cooking and many other things like these. We use the internet daily on our laptops or even mobile phones for a variety of purposes like E-Mail, Web Surfing and many more.
  2. Computer Networks have immense applications in mobile phones. As you know, we travel around the world with mobile phone in our pockets. Our mobile phones are constantly connected to the Mobile Network that provides us various communication facility like calls, SMS, MMS, 3G/4G or even 5G. At the back end, Computer Networks basically controls this whole mechanism.
  3. Satellites a very useful for us these days. You might have used the Google Maps application for tracking your location or finding the route to your destination. Geostationary Satellite Network is controlled and managed via Computer Networks. Satellites also enable to broadcast television channels. Even you can use satellite phones while you`re on an adventure.

Uses of Computer Network

Frankly speaking, Computer Network Uses are really awesome and attractive. It is basically a multi-disciplinary. So, you can`t fix it to one or two applications. On the contrary, the Applications of Computer Networks are world-wide. You can use such networks at your home or office. Various industries use networks for handling the manufacturing processes. Banks and other financial institutes widely use this to facilitate themselves. For convenience and understanding, I am going to discuss the top 6 areas where you can easily find the Use of Computer Networks.

1. Internet

Top 1 application of networks is the Internet. The modern day internet`s roots come from a network of four computers called ARPANET. But now, millions of computers throughout the world have joined together.  Just because of this application, we can say that the world has transformed into a global village. What can`t be done through the internet? In fact, you can find an entirely new horizon on each corner of the internet. All the modern day applications like E-Mail, Social Networking, Blogging, Instant Messaging, Video Conferences are just because of the use of computer networks.

2. Banks

The modern banking system is really flexible in terms of financial transactions. Gone are those days when you have to search for a specific bank branch to swap your ATM card. Today, you can easily purchase anything from a store using your debit or credit card. E-Commerce is totally based on online transactions via VISA or Mastercards. With the modern banking system, you can see the details of transactions with a single click. Transferring money to another account is neither a problem. Computer Network has made ubiquitous banking possible.

uses computer network

3. Telecom

Telecommunications or Telecom facilities today are due to the advancement and collaboration of Telecommunication and Networking Sector. Even the dial-up internet was also due to the application of the very same Telecommunication and Computer Networks joint venture. Today, we are using DSL internet along-with our landline phones. Similarly, the importance and usage of 3G/4G in mobile phone networks is increasing day by day due to the very same factor. Hence, the modern Telecommunication Network is not only improving the services but also the Quality of Service (QoS) every day.

4. E-Commerce

E-Commerce is one of the best applications on the internet. Most of you know this term very well. Some of us must have bought products from Amazon or Walmart etc. These are real giants in the E-Commerce field. Computer Network actually provides Communication Network for E-Commerce business. Obviously, a vast E-Commerce system requires information from warehouses, partner organizations, manufacturers, shipping industries and obviously employees. So, for managing such a vast information system, a reliable, efficient, accurate and responsive Computer Networks are necessary. In order to get more details on this topic, you can download the following article. It will be mighty helpful for you.

Download Network Infrastructure for E-Commerce (PPT)

5. Hospitals

The use of Computer Networks in Hospitals can really do wonders for you. The simplest example is the  Hospital Wifi Network. So, now even in a hospital, you are able to connect to the internet world. Hospital Networking System has become the base for the vast Healthcare Information Systems. Such systems assist in storing/managing and sharing of patient health records. You might have listened to the term of Robotic Surgery. This massive advancement has suppressed geographic boundaries for performing surgeries. In the old days, an experienced surgeon had to travel to distant locations of the world to perform a surgical procedure. But now, thanks to the application of Networking in Healthcare, a surgeon can perform delicate surgeries from any distant location by using a Computer Network.

6. Industry

The Computer Network Industry Use is really important for a variety of purpose in industrial manufacturers. This forms the foundations of Enterprise Networking. The use of Enterprise Networking facilitates manufactures in coordinating the working of various departments. This not only saves their time but also help the manufacturers in organizing every day’s tasks to improve productivity and lower overhead expenses.

Computer Network Basics

In this section, I am going to discuss the Basic Concepts of Computer Networks. For the sake of simplicity and convenience, I will only provide an overview of these Networking Basic Concepts. These are Basic Networking Fundamentals. So, I personally recommend you to understand the concepts provided to you in this Comprehensive Networking Basic Tutorial.

Node

Any device that can connect and communicate with a Computer Network is termed as a Node. This device can be a Printer, Laptop, Smartphone, Client, Server or any other device like Routers, Access Points, etc. The whole Network of Computers is organized around nodes.

Network Node Example: Suppose, at the moment you are surfing the Internet. It means you are able to communicate with the largest Computer Network in the world. So, your device is actually a Node.

Client

A Client is actually like a consumer or simply user. Client device in networks communicates with another special type of computer called Server. In this communication, the Client Computer/Device uses the services of a Server. However, a Client cannot directly use these services. Instead, services can only be used if the Server permits the client to use them.

Example of Client

You search a variety of information on search engines like Google. It means that you are using the search service provided by the search engine. So, your device gets the designation of Client.

Server

Definition of Server is quite simple one. The term Server basically means anything that serves another thing. Just like waiters in restaurants serve food to the customers. In Computer Networking Field, a Server is a combination of hardware and software. This amazing combination allows the Server to give services to other devices in the network. This powerful combination is called Server Computer.

Server Example

  • The most common example of Server is a Web Server. We use such type of Server in our everyday life. Whenever we type https://www.facebook.com/ in our web browser and press enter, we are requesting Facebook Server to allow services to our device.
  • We use our ATMs and Credit Cards while shopping offline or online. It is amazing to note that whenever we perform some transaction the amount is automatically deducted from our bank account. Moreover, we can use this type of plastic money anywhere in the world. This is because of the fact that our banking server allows us the facility to use it ubiquitously.

Client Server

Network Media

For the sake of communication, a Computer Network requires some form of Network Media. So, the Network Medium provides the path for nodes to communicate with each other. In networking, there are plenty of options for you in terms of Types of Network Media. However, for convenience the two main categories of Network Media are as follows:

  1. Wired Network Media
  2. Wireless Network Media

Network Medium Examples

Typical examples of network medium are LAN Cables, Fiber Optics, Radio Waves.  However, I will write a detailed blog post on these too.

Network Devices

The role of Network Devices in Computer Networks is very critical and important. Network Devices assist in using the facilities of a Computer Network. Just imagine using your computer without a mouse or keyboard. What will you be able to do? I think nothing. Because a mouse facilitates you in controlling the pointer. Keyboard makes it easy to do data entry like typing etc. These are the basic input devices. Similar is the case with the devices being used in a network. Imagine, you don`t have a WiFi Card in your laptop. What will be the outcome? The answer is very simple, that you will not be able to access the Internet in this situation. This is because a WiFi card is a Network Device.

Examples of Networking Devices

There is not a single Network Device. Instead we use various Types of Network Devices in Networks. The simplest Network Device Examples are Modem, WiFi card, Access Point and Router.

Computer Network Protocols

For your understanding, I am giving you an easy to understand Network Protocols Definition. A Network Protocol is simply collection of rules/regulations, procedure/process and format. This collection must be agreed upon by the Client, Server and other Networking Devices to initiate and complete communication process. Network Protocols ensure the effectiveness, reliability and security of the communication messages.

Network Protocols Examples

Quite often you may have seen the words like http or https in the address bar of your Web Browser. These are just two simplest examples of Computer Networking Protocols.

Network Protocol

Types of Computer Network

There are various Types of Computer Networking. You might be thinking how these types are created? The answer is “Area”  or “Scope”. According to this parameter, Computer Network is subdivided into four types. The Basic Four Types of Network are as follows:

  1. Local Area Network (LAN)
  2. Wide Area Network (WAN)
  3. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
  4. Personal Area Network (PAN)

You might be getting confused. Let me resolve this for you people:

Local Area Network (LAN)

As the name suggests, a Local Area Network or LAN is a Computer Network created in a single building or a group of buildings in surroundings. Due to this limited area coverage, it is referred to as Local Area Network. It is so easy to establish and manage that even you, yourself, can do it. All you need is a little skill. When it comes to choosing Network Media for your Home LAN or Office LAN, you have two options available. You can go for Wired LAN as well as Wireless LAN.

Wired LAN is sometimes also termed as Ethernet LAN. If you want to establish this Type of Network at your home or office, all you need LAN Wire or Ethernet Wire and LAN Card. Once you get this equipment, just connect the LAN Cables to LAN Cards.

Definition of LAN

Local Area Network (LAN) is a small-medium sized Network that covers the area of a single building or more than one buildings residing in locality.

Examples of LAN: All I can say here is just look around yourself, I am sure you will find plenty of Examples of LAN. You might have gone to a shopping mart. That`s probably the best and most common Example of LAN. Similarly, you can find LAN in Banks, Schools, Universities and Offices.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

WAN or simple Wide Area Network, as the name suggests, covers a wider area in comparison to LAN. A WAN may span across cities, countries, continents and even the whole world. Wide Area Network span is so large that it can contain 100s and even 1000s of LANs. WAN is not propriety in most of the cases. In this way, a user can connect anytime to a WAN Network using his/her smartphone, laptop and even desktop computer. All he or she require is the connection to the WAN.

Definition of WAN

Wide Area Network (WAN) is basically a collection of LANs, PANs and even MANs throughout the world. WAN covers the largest geographical area when it is compared to other Four Types of Networking.

Example of Wide Area Network (WAN): One of the simplest and finest Example of WAN is the Internet. Internet is not propriety. Instead the modern Internet is collection of various sub networks all around the globe. E-Commerce web sites like Amazon, online taxi service like Uber, E-Mail applications such as G Mail and Search Engines like Google are all popular WAN Applications.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

A Metropolitan Area Network or MAN resides in between LAN and WAN in terms of geographical area coverage. The area covered by MAN Network is large as compared to LAN but at the same time MAN area coverage is less in comparison to WAN. You can think of this Network spanning across a single city or a group of cities. There are a variety of Benefits of Metropolitan Area Network (MAN). It provides a handsome opportunities to the businesses having offices located in various cities and continents, thus, providing them the opportunity to operate in a secure, reliable and large-spanned Computer Network.

Definition of MAN

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a Type of Network that covers the geographical area in between LAN and WAN. So, a MAN neither covers a very large area nor a very small area.

MAN Example: A lot of universities in UK, USA and Canada have campuses country-wide. All of these campuses have their own LANs. Moreover, these individual LAN Networks are interconnected to form a MAN.

Personal Area Network (PAN)

PAN Network is the smallest of the lot. The least amount of area is is covered by a Personal Area Network. A PAN is therefore a short-term, quick established and easy-to-handle Computer Network. It is mostly used in the form of a Wireless Network. The distance range of PAN is typically in meters. Most of the time we establish it quickly, use it for some time and terminate it. So, in short it is actually an Ad Hoc Network. One of the main beauty of this Type of Network is that it does not require any infrastructure. So it is not costly or difficult to establish and manage.

Definition of PAN

Personal Area Network (PAN) is a Network Type that is established specifically for personal purposes and is limited to a distance of few meters only.

Personal Area Network (PAN) Examples: Bluetooth is the most common and easiest Example of PAN that you will find on this planet. What you have to do to establish Bluetooth PAN? Simply, all you need is two or more Bluetooth-enabled devices. Rest of the process is just pairing of devices and data sharing. Another example of PAN is IrDA (Infra Red Data Association). Some of you might have used IrDA once in life.

Network Topology

You might have listened this term quite often and to be honest the title of my blog is also derived from the same word. Well, in simple words, Network Topology is basically the Network Layout. Network Topology defines the physical location and placement of Servers, Clients and Network Devices in a Computer Network. Network Topology indicates the placement and organization of various elements of a Network.

There are various Types of Network Typology used in Computer Network. At the moment, I will just provide a brief introduction of Types of Network Typologies to you. For more detailed information, stay tuned….

Network Topology Definition

Network Topology is the logical structure of the entire Computer Network. It specifies the layout, location and attachment of various Elements of Network.

Types of Network Typologies

Now if you talk about Network Topology Types then let me tell you that these numbers are really small. In fact, there are only 5 Types of Network Topology. For the sake of convenience, I will briefly define the various Types of Network Topologies here. I will share the links for detailed topics with you in the coming sections. But let me first provide you the list of Network Topologies.

  • Bus Topology
  • Star Topology
  • Ring Topology
  • Mesh Topology
  • Tree Topology
  • Hybrid Topology

Let me briefly explain each one for your ease of understanding.

Bus Topology Definition

One of the oldest and simplest Type of Network Topology is Bus Topology. Bus Topology consists of a single central cable. This cable is referred to Backbone Cable in Bus Topology. All the Computer Network Nodes like Server, Client and Network Device are attached to the Backbone Cable with the help of drop links. The Backbone Cable is of chief importance in this topology. So, any form of damage to it can stop the communication in whole Computer Network.

Read More About Bus Topology

Star Topology Definition

Most commonly used Network Topology in different organizations is Star Topology or Star Network. In Star Topology Network, a central Network Device provides the communication facility to different Network Nodes in a Computer Network. In other words, each Node in the Computer Network possesses a dedicated connection to a central Network Device and the central device is responsible for the communication among various Network Nodes. The Central Network Device is either a Switch or a Hub. Whenever the central Hub or Switch fails, communication through the whole Computer Network stops.

Read More About Star Topology

Ring Topology Definition

As the name suggests, Ring Topology connects all the Nodes of Computer Network in the shape of a closed path. This closed path can be a circle, triangle, square, rectangle or any other polygon. In other words, you can say that in a Ring Topology Network, each Node is connected to two neighbor nodes. The communication signals travels through the closed loop. It means that, communication signal has to pass through all the Nodes between Sender and Receiver. In such Type of Network Topology, each Node is really important. In case of problem in even a single Node, the whole Computer Network stops its operation.

Read More About Ring Topology

Mesh Topology Definition

Mesh Topology is by far the most reliable, high performance and fault-tolerant Type of Network Topology. In a typical Mesh Network Topology each Network Node has a point-to-point connection to all other Nodes present in the whole Computer Network. This means that there are dedicated links between each pair of Network Devices. Due to this factor it is very costly to establish. But trust me its fault-tolerance and troubleshooting mechanisms are really easy. In this Network Topology Type, addition of even a single device can cost you a handsome amount of money.

Read More About Mesh Topology

Tree Topology Definition

Tree Topology is a combination of Bus Topology and Star Topology. In this Type of Network Topology, a strong Backbone Cable connects individual Network segments. Each Network Segment contains several Nodes. Nodes in Network Segments connect to a Switch or Hub. It provides us with advantages of both of its constituents. Due to Hub or Switch usage, high flexibility is one of the major advantage of this Network Topology. Backbone Cable is again of chief importance like Bus Topology. Any damage to it will cause the whole Computer Network to stop operations.

Read More About Tree Topology

Hybrid Topology Definition

This Type of Network Topology combines all basic Network Topologies including Bus, Star, Ring and Mesh. In this way, Hybrid Topology presents a blend of characteristics of all basic types. In this type, whole Computer Network is divided into Network Segments. Each Network Segments connects with Network Backbone. The choice of Backbone Network entirely depends upon your choice and liking. Each Network Segment has its own topological configuration. Whenever main backbone fails, whole Computer Network can stop functioning.

Read More About Hybrid Topology

FAQs

1. What is Network in Computer?

Network term is widely popular in computer science. Network in Computer Science means creating a collection of computers that can communicate with each other. With the help of this communication, data and other resource sharing become manageable. It also lowers the expenses.

2. What is a Node in Computer Network?

A device that can communicate when connected to Computer Networks is considered as a Node. Tablet PCs, Mobile Phones, Computers, and Printers reside in this category. Server and Client computers also fall in the same category.

3. What are the Basic Elements of a Computer Network?

The Basic Elements of a Computer Network include Nodes (Client or Server), Network Devices, Network or Communication Medium. Collectively these things create a network. All these things work as a single unit to facilitate communication.

4. What are the 4 Types of Network?

Four types of Network are:

  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Wide Area Network (WAN)
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
  • Personal Area Network (PAN)

5. For What the Word WAN Stands For?

WAN term stands for Wide Area Network in the field of Computer Networks. It is basically a very large Network of computers and communication devices throughout the world. One of the very common WAN Example is the Internet.

6. What are the 5 Network Topologies?

Follwing are the names of the 5 Network Topologies:

  • Bus Topology
  • Star Topology
  • Ring Topology
  • Mesh Topology
  • Tree Topology

However, there is another additional Network Topology which can be formed by combining any from the 5 Network Topology Types. The name of this 6 Network Topology is Hybrid Topology.

Conclusion / Final Words