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Need for Computer Network

What is a Computer Network?

A computer network is a group of linked computers and other gadgets that can communicate and share resources. Let's look at examples of computer networks like servers, routers, switches, and many other hardware elements and gadgets. With the help of computer networks, people can exchange or share information or data with the help of devices, and these devices also allow us to collaborate efficiently and effectively.

Computer networks have various sizes and levels of complexity, and they can be wired or wireless. An extensive global network helps connect computers and systems worldwide, which can be formed from small, local networks within a single home or office.

Types of Computer Networks

There are different kinds of computer networks, each created to fulfil a particular function and a specific connectivity requirement. Typical computer network types are listed below:

  • Local Area Network (LAN): LANs are networks typically limited to a small geographic area, like a single office, home, or building. They link computers, printers, and servers to enable resource sharing and communication within a constrained space. Ethernet cables or Wi-Fi are frequently used in LANs for connectivity.
  • Wide Area Network (WAN): WANs connect LANs across multiple cities, regions, or countries. They typically cover a larger geographic area. An international example of a WAN is the internet. WANs employ various technologies for long-distance communication, including satellite links, fibre optics, and leased lines.
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): A MAN is a network that spans a city or sizable campus and is in between a LAN and WAN in terms of size. It is made to provide high-speed data transfer between various LANs within a metropolitan area.
  • Personal Area Network (PAN): The smallest type of network, a PAN, typically links personal devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones used in a person's workspace. For PANs, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are frequently employed.
  • Campus Area Network (CAN): A CAN is comparable to a MAN but covers an academic or commercial campus or an industrial park. It links numerous LANs within a specified geographic area to enable centralized control and communication.
  • Cloud Network: Cloud networks connect to the internet to access cloud computing services and resources in distant data centres. Software, storage, and processing power are all available to users as needed.
  • IoT: Internet of Things networks link various smart objects, sensors, and devices to share and collect data. Applications like home automation, smart cities, and industrial IoT depend on these networks.

These are some of the most prevalent categories of computer networks, each with unique traits and functions catered to particular requirements and contexts. Various elements, including size, scope, use, geographic coverage, and necessary features, influence the choice of network type.

Need for Computer Network

In the current digital era, computer networks are crucial for several reasons. They make communicating, sharing information, and accessing resources easier. Following are some of the main demands for and advantages of computer networks:

  • Communication: Computer networks enable email, messaging, video conferencing, and voice calls over the internet or local intranets, connecting people and devices.
  • Resource Sharing: Networks allow the sharing of hardware resources like printers, scanners, and storage units. Costs are decreased, and productivity is increased.
  • Data sharing: Among connected devices, networks make it simple to share files and data. This is essential for teamwork in organizations and academic settings.
  • Access to the Internet: Most people worldwide use computer networks to access the internet, which is a massive database of knowledge, goods, and entertainment.
  • Remote access: Networks enable employees to work from home or access resources from any location by granting remote access to computers and systems.
  • Data Backup: The backup of important data is made simple and secure by network-attached storage (NAS) and cloud storage services.
  • Scalability: Networks are easily scalable for expanding businesses because they accommodate more devices and users.
  • Security: To guard against unauthorized access and online threats, networks use security tools like firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems.
  • E-commerce: Secure computer networks are essential for online shopping and financial transactions.
  • Education: Computer networks are essential to e-learning and online education because they increase access to educational resources on a global scale.
  • Healthcare: Networks allow for the management of medical records, telemedicine, and the sharing of patient data.
  • Smart Devices: To connect and communicate between smart devices for home automation, industrial control, and other uses, the Internet of Things heavily relies on networks.
  • Research and Innovation: Network-wide data and resource sharing is frequently necessary for collaborative research and innovation.

In conclusion, computer networks are the foundation of contemporary society, enabling efficient information and resource exchange across various domains and fostering communication, teamwork, and innovation. In the digital age, they are necessary for personal and professional activities.

Characteristics of Computer Network

Computer networks are created so we can simplify complex systems and transfer information and resources between connected devices. They have several essential traits that specify how they behave and function. The characteristics of computer networks are as follows:

  • Connectivity: A computer network's main function is to connect various devices, including computers, servers, printers, and Internet of Things devices. This connectivity allows them to communicate, exchange data, and access shared resources.
  • Data sharing: Computer networks allow connected devices to share data and resources. Files, documents, software, printers, and internet access can all fall under this category.
  • Communication: Computer networks make it possible for users to send messages, emails, and instant messages to other devices, as well as participate in audio and video conferencing.
  • Remote Access: Networks allow for remote access to data and resources. Users can use their devices to remotely access files and software from distant servers or computers, regardless of distance.
  • Reliability: Computer networks are made to be dependable, ensuring accurate and consistent data delivery. Mechanisms for fault tolerance and redundancy are frequently used to improve reliability.
  • Performance: Network performance is crucial to ensure data is transmitted quickly and effectively. Network performance is impacted by variables such as bandwidth, latency, and packet loss.
  • Security: In computer networks, security is a major concern. Data protection strategies use firewalls, encryption, authentication, and access control to guard against hacker attacks and unauthorized access.
  • Topology: Different topologies for computer networks include star, bus, ring, and mesh. The topology determines how components are connected, which can affect the fault tolerance and performance of the network.

It is crucial to comprehend these characteristics to design, configure, and manage computer networks effectively to meet the unique needs of organizations and users.

Limitation of Computer Network

Although computer networks have many benefits, they also have drawbacks and difficulties that users and organizations should consider. Here are a few typical computer network drawbacks:

  • Security issues: Malware, viruses, hacking, and data breaches are all-too-common security threats. Strong security measures are needed for networks to protect data and systems.
  • Complexity: Setting up, running, and maintaining a computer network can be complicated. It can be challenging to effectively manage larger networks.
  • Cost: Building and running a network can be costly. Hardware, software, maintenance, and security precautions are all costs.
  • Reliability Issues: Network interruptions or downtime can be caused by hardware malfunctions, software bugs, or outside variables like power outages or natural disasters. High network availability demands redundant systems and backup plans.
  • Performance bottlenecks: When dealing with large amounts of data or heavy network traffic, networks may experience performance problems. Network optimization may be needed to address these bottlenecks.
  • Compatibility: Maintaining network compatibility between hardware, operating systems, and software programs can be difficult. Functionality problems may result from interoperability issues.
  • Limitations on Bandwidth: The bandwidth available on shared or crowded networks can affect how quickly and responsively data transfers occur.
  • Privacy Concerns: The risk of interception when sending sensitive or private information over networks raises privacy concerns. To solve this problem, encryption and secure communication protocols are used.
  • Management and maintenance: Monitoring, troubleshooting, and updating hardware and software components are all part of the ongoing network administration and maintenance tasks.
  • Scalability Challenges: Growing a network to accommodate expansion can be difficult and requires careful planning to maintain security and performance.
  • Legacy Systems: Older or legacy systems might not work with contemporary network technologies, which makes integration and maintenance difficult.
  • Limited range (in Wireless Networks): The signal strength of wireless networks can be impacted by interference and obstacles, and their range is also limited.

Despite these drawbacks in today's interconnected world, computer networks are essential tools for sharing resources, collaborating, and communicating. Careful planning, investment, and ongoing management are necessary to address these limitations and maximize the advantages of networks while minimizing their disadvantages.

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