Wednesday, 14 December 2011

What are networks? (Beginner)

If you are viewing this page then you are connected to the internet.

What is the Internet?

The internet is a network of networks (a connection of networks that are joined together)

If you could see the internet, it would look something like this. 

The circles represents a web server.
The point of this image is to demonstrate that no one controls the internet. When you (one of the squares) connects to Google (blue circle) you are connecting straight to their web server and requesting the page. When you search for YouTube through Google and click the link you are being sent to another web server (not always the circle next to it)

 The Internet is a mesh of networks. "Mesh" is a network topology and i will cover it in the medium network tutorial.

Home networks vs Business networks.

There is a difference between home and business networks as the purpose and requirements are different.

A home network is mainly used to connect to the internet and to other devices on your network (connecting your smartphone to your computer etc.)

Whereas a business network is mainly focused on connecting multiple computers together (depending on the size of the business, networks can have a range of 5-600+ computers on the network)

Your home network will look something like this...

Artistic drawing of a typical home network.

In this picture we see a number of devices connected to the router via wired or wireless connection.
The router is the gateway to the internet.

A simple business network will look something like this...

Artistic drawing of a simple business network.

In this network we have a number of computers connecting to a switch.

A switch allows multiple devices to talk to one another.
When Pc-1 wants to send a message to PC-2, the message goes through the switch and onto PC-2.

Also on the network we have a server. Servers can do different things depending on how they are set up. For example,  they can be an email server, a web server, dynamic host control protocol, domain name server etc. (Don't worry if you don't know what those last two are, they will be explained in the medium network tutorial)

Ports are the slots where cables go to allow devices to connect to them. Ports can be found on your router, switch, hub, and computer.

Switches have a lot of ports, but if its a big network the switch can connect to another switch to allow more devices on the network.
If we have a router connected then all of the computers on this network will be able to connect to the internet.

To sum up.

  • The Internet is a network of networks.
  • A router connects networks together and is a gateway to the internet.
  • A switch is a device that allows other devices to communicate with each other.
  • A port is where the cable fits into which in turn allows connections to be made.
  • Servers are used for many different tasks depending on what you need them for.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask below :)

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