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Computer Networking Basics: The Complete 101 Guide For Beginners

Hello, friends in this tutorial you are going to learn the computer networking basics. You’ll learn what is computer networking, types of computer networking and some computer networking basic concepts.

Computer Networking Basics: The Complete Guide For Beginners

So before moving on to the nitty-gritty of computer networking basics let us discuss what is computer networking and what is the need for computer networking.

So let’s dive right into it.

What is Computer Networking?

A computer network could simply be two computers connected via a cable sharing information with each other.

As an example, you may have a file on a PC and want to share that with someone else.  So, you could possibly connect your devices such as a laptop and the other device such as PC using an Ethernet cable. The ethernet cale will then allow both the devices to share information with each other.

That’s all a computer network is in its simplest form. It’s essentially two devices sharing information with each other.

Also, a computer network does not only consists of computers but also your smartphone. In fact, not only your devices but also IoT devices like your TV, your microwave, Air Conditioner and the list goes on and on.

Need For Computer Networking?

need of computer networking

So now you know what is a computer network. Let us discuss why do we need to establish a computer network. To understand this let’s take an example.

Suppose you have three standalone computers.

These computers can input, process and output the data on their own and are not dependent on any other computer.

So consider that you want to transfer some of your files from one computer to another. Now to do that you will first need to copy your data on a secondary storage like pen drive and then paste in on the other computer.

This whole process of copying and pasting data becomes very time consuming and also a lot of burdens.

So to solve this problem you simply connect these three computers using a wire known as a LAN cable or ethernet cable. Now, when all these computers are connected together with a computer network is formed. You can now easily transfer your data from one computer to the other.

READ: How To Hide Your IP Address

Types Of Computer Networking Based On Location

So let us discuss types of computer networking. A computer network can be classified into three different types based on its geographical location. So the types of computer networking typically fall down to the following network types:

LAN

LAN stands for Local Area Network and is typically a network that resides within a small geographic location. An example would be a company’s building having all the computers connected to each other.

As said earlier in a Local Area Network the geography separating the host is relatively small. So a company can also have another building that is not too far from the first one and all the computer in that building connected to the computers of the first building.

This type of network will also be considered as a Local Area Network.

MAN

A MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Network. A MAN network is basically a group of LAN’s that are separated from each other by a quiet long geographical area.

So suppose a company has buildings at different places in a single city and they are connected to each other then this type of network will be said as a Metropolitan Area Network.

The connection of these types of the computer network is done using the fiber optics cable which provides a reliable and consistent data transfer over long distances.

In a MAN the distance from one Local Area Network to the other can be a maximum of 75 Kilometres.

WAN

A WAN stands for Wide Area Network. A Wide Area Network also consists collection of various LAN’s but the distance by which they are separated can be very very long. An example of a Wide Area Network is the Internet.

The connection of a Wide Area Network done with the help of a leased line.

A leased line is simply a telephone line which connects your computer to your Internet Service Provider and your Internet Service Provider connects you to the computer network and make the connection available to you.

Watch the following video and understand better:

Types Of Computer Networking Based Network Architecture

So now you know few things about computer networking basics and the types of computer networking based on the geographical location let us have a look at the types of computer networking based on the network architecture.

Peer to Peer Network

So the first one that we are going to talk about is peer to peer network. It is also known as the P2P network. If you use BitTorrent then you might be familiar with how peer to peer network works.

Basically, in a peer to peer network the host computer both provides and consumes the network services.

So a typical example of a peer to peer network is like in school or college labs.

Like in my college there is one big printer that is directly attached to a single computer and all the other computers on the network are connected to that computer.

Now when someone wants to print something then a request is made to the computer which is directly connected to the printer and the printer prints the required document.

In the same way, the computer which is directly connected to the printer can also use the hard drive of other computers on the network to store the files. This way a peer to peer network both consumes and provides the network services.

Using a peer to peer network helps us to efficiently manage resources. Notice that we don’t require a printer for every single computer that is connected to the network instead we only connect only one computer to the printer.

The biggest benefit of a peer to peer network is that it is very easy to implement and also a peer to peer network is not expensive.

But on the flip, the major drawback of a peer to peer network is that it is not very scalable. As you add more computer to the network you’ll find it difficult to manage the whole computer network.

Client-Server Network

In a client-server network architecture, there are roles assigned to each of the host computers. One role is of a client and another is of a server.

In this type of network architecture, a server only serves the information or resources and the client computer only consumes the resources provided by the server.

A computer network which uses the client-server architecture is of a centralized type. It means all the resources are provided by a centralized server which makes a computer network very easy to support and highly scalable.

A simple example of a client-server network is the World Wide Web that is the Internet. You are accessing this website from a host called the server and your computer is a client which is using the resources of that server. So this is what’s called a client-server computer network.

I hope understood how a client-server network works.

READ: How To Setup Windows 10 Built-In VPN

Computer Networking Basics Concepts

So that was all about the types of computer networking. Now let’s learn computer networking basics concepts. These are the all the computer networking basics concepts/terms that you might have heard before and are the most widely used in the computer networking industry.

IP Address

An IP address stands for Internet protocol address. It is a numerical address assigned to every device connected to a computer network. An example of an IP address is 173.194.43.7.

No one IP address can be assigned to different devices connected to a computer network. You can say an IP address is a unique name assigned to every device connected to a computer network.

So if you want to check your IP address then simply go to google and type– what is my IP and it will show your current IP address that is visible to the Internet.

The IP address can be static or it can be dynamic. Static means the IP does not change and dynamic means that the IP address changes every time you connect to your network after disconnecting.

The dynamic allocation of IP address is done with the help of a DHCP server which stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

A DHCP server allows a server or a device such as your home router to dynamically allocate IP addresses to the devices joined the network.

MAC Address

So now you know about what is an IP address and I’m damn sure that must have also heard about MAC address somewhere.

The MAC address stands for Media Access Control address. It sounds too complicated to understand but it is not. MAC address is just the physical address of your computer.

Although there is the use of the IP address to uniquely identify your computer on the network the MAC address is used by your router to identify your computer.

Another cause for having a MAC address is that the IP address you use may change when you disconnect and reconnect with your computer network. But that simply is not the case with the physical address.

This physical address is permanent and can not be changed. The physical address is hardcoded into the Network Adapter by the manufacturer of your computer’s company. A MAC address looks like this– 00-14-22-01-23-45.

If you are using windows you can check your MAC address by simply going to command prompt or PowerShell and typing– ipconfig /all.

Network Protocol

A network protocol is essentially a set of rules that help in the communications between all the network devices. We, humans, follow some rules when we communicate with one another in the same way computers must also follow some rules.

So say, if I only speak English and you only speak German then are we going to communicate effectively with each other? the answer is probably no.

In the same way, computers need to understand each other in order to communicate. You can say that a Network Protocol is a set of guidelines; which helps a computer to decode the message sent by another computer.

You can also think a Network Protocol as the language which is understood by the computers in order to send and receive data.

Simply said a network protocol is a set of rules which a computer uses to understand what other devices connected to the computer network are trying to say.

NIC (Network Interface Card)

A Network Interface Card is a hardware component which helps a computer or your smartphone to connect to a network.

We use a cable what’s called Ethernet cable or LAN cable to connect our computers to the Internet. We plug the Ethernet cable to the Network Interface Card of our computer which ultimately connects us to the Internet.

In the smartphones, we have wireless network interface cards that connect us to a network. So rather than using a cable for connecting to the Internet, we use wireless interface cards.

You can also think a NIC as a door and the Ethernet cable as key for opening that door.

A Network Interface Card is also known as:

  • Network Interface Controller
  • Network adapter
  • LAN adapter
  • Physical Network Interface

DNS Server (Domain Name System)

Basically, a Domain Name System converts a domain name like google.com to its equivalent IP address.

For example when you try to visit google.com then at first the domain name is converted into an IP address that corresponds to google.com. Only then and then you are able to access google.com.

So for some reasons, if the conversion did not take place you’ll not be able to access google.com.

This whole conversion is done by the Domain Name System or DNS server. As we know that computer only understands 1’s and 0’s; there should be a way to convert strings of the letter (our domain names) to an IP address.

That’s when the DNS server comes to our rescue.

A DNS server contains a list of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. A DNS server helps us to conveniently access our favorite websites without remembering any IP address.

Rundown: Computer Networking Basics

So this was all about computer networking basics and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Apart from this computer networking basics tutorial, I’ll be posting more articles on computer networking basics concept.

Those articles are going to be in-depth and in easy to understand language. So be sure to subscribe to the email newsletter so you are informed when I post a new article.

If you have any doubt in this article or have any suggestion for me;  feel free to comment below or contact me. I’ll be more than happy to help you. Also, make sure to share this article with your friends and family.

So stay tuned and keep visiting.

Categories: Networking

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