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The Fundamentals Of Computer Networking!

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

Computer #networking is just like pillars or infrastructure for the computing field. Knowing the basic concepts of how things work, how the #internet works which we use on daily basis makes things really interesting.

What is a Network?

A Network is a collection of computers connected to each other by some suitable transmission media like cables, wireless, microwave, etc. Networking holds the key to this by providing the means of exchange to share the resources involved.

Because of networking, It is easy to set up all of the computers to share a single printer. Multiple family members or staff members in the office can access the internet simultaneously without having to pay an #ISP (Internet Service Protocol) for multiple accounts.

What are the basic components of Computer Networks?

Devices required for computer networking are Modem, Laptops, PCs, Servers, Routers etc..
Computer Networking

Let us assume a kingdom where the king sends a message through his messenger. The messenger collects the message, travels to all the countries, passes it to the rulers and the rulers pass it to their respective people.

Now replace Kingdom with #Hub in this scenario, and you have a computer network!

Which implies that

  • King as Server.

  • Message as Shared data.

  • Messenger as an NIU.

  • The mode of transport taken by messenger as Transmission media.

  • Rulers as Switch.

  • People as Clients.

Hub – This is like a distribution center that splits a network connection into multiple computers. Through a cable request is send to the hub from a computer that asked for the information, the hub receives the request and transmits it to the entire #network.

Servers – It is the main computer that acts as a host and provides data, software, etc. to the other terminals linked with it. It servers as the workstations.

Shared data – This is the data file that servers provide to clients such as e-mail data files, printer access programs.

Network Interface Unit (NIU) – It establishes a connection between the network. #NIC (Network Interface Card) is a device that is attached to each workstation and server.

Transmission Media - The facilities used to interconnect computers in a network are Transmission media sometimes called lines or channels.

Switch - A telecommunication device assembled as one of the computer network components, which work in the data link layer is called a #switch. It uses hardware addresses of a particular device in each incoming message to deliver the message to the right destination or #port.

Clients - Clients are #computers(users) that access and use the service of the network and shared network resources.

Types of Computer Network Configuration

Various types of computer network configurations are: LAN, WAN, MAN, WIRELESS
Types Of Computer Networks

Local Area Network (#LAN): This is a network that is typically personal to an institution. It is a system in which computers are interconnected and the geographic spread may be within a building to 1 kilometer.

Physical Topologies:

Computer Network Topologies include Linear Bus, Ring, star, Mesh, Tree
Types Of Computer Network Topologies

Linear Bus Topology: This is the first used #topology. Consists of the main run cable with a terminator at each closure. Uses one long cable called a backbone computer (workstation and servers).

Diagram depicting Linear-bus topology connected through single cable
Linear Bus Topology

Ring Topology: Contains wiring that permits information to pass from one device to another in a ring or a circle.

Diagram depicting Ring topology with connected ends
Ring Topology

Star Topology: A standard model, designed with each node (file server, workstations) connected directly to a network hub or connector which manages and controls all the functions of the network. Data here passes through the hub or connector before continuing to its destination. It iterates the data flow.

Diagram depicting Star topology, every node connected to central hub
Star Topology

Mesh Topology: One of the key topologies in which devices are connected with many redundant interconnections between network nodes such as routers and switches. Here if any cable or node fails, there are many other ways for two nodes to #communicate. Reliable and troubleshooting are very easy.

Diagram depicting Mesh Topology, where computers are interconnected.
Mesh Topology

There are two types of mesh topologies:

i. Full mesh: This happens when each and every node has a circuit connecting it to each and every other node in a network. Usually reserved for backbone networks.

ii. Partial mesh: Normally found in peripheral networks concatenated to a full meshed backbone. With partial mesh, some nodes are tightly coupled among themselves but not fully inter-linked.

Tree Topology: Associates characteristics of linear bus and star topologies. It consists of a bunch of star-configured computer terminals connected to a linear bus backbone cable. Allows for the extension of an existing network. Interconnected wiring for individual members of the tree is available.

Diagram depicting Tree Topology, computers connected in hierarchical fashion
Tree Topology

Wide Area Network (#WAN): As the name implies, these networks cover a far wider area than #LAN. WAN is formed by linking LANs together. The transmission media used are linked with the router. A router is a device that interlinks two or more computer networks.

Image depicting WAN-Wide Area Network, which spans across the globe
Wide Area Network(WAN)

Metropolitan Area Network (#MAN): This is a computer network usually traversing a city or a campus, which typically connects a few local area networks. It is larger than LAN but smaller than WAN in a geographic sense. #Opticalfiber is used in MAN. The Cable TV network is a good example of this.

Wireless Networks: As the name suggests it uses wireless data and is not connected with any cables. Let's understand through an example,

A radio link is maintained with some other router on the ground with a single router on an aircraft, as the aircraft flies changing routers along this configuration is just a conventional LAN, except that its connection to the outside world happens to be a radio link instead of a wired line.

Types of guided and unguided communication medium are

Different types of Communication Media through which signals get transmitted
Various Communication Media

What is a Network Protocol?

A #protocol as used in networking is a set of rules or algorithms that define how computers communicate or transmit data. These rules represent an agreement between the communicating devices. With the absence of a protocol, two devices may be catenated but not communicating.


As you can notice, there are many different types of computer networks in the present scenario. Ranging from wired to wireless, to a network that spans the whole nation technology today lets us connect with people from all over the world and grow as a community. So next time you e-mail or message a friend who is miles away you can be grateful to computer networking for making it possible!


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Informative and concise! LearnElectronics India always delivers quality content.


Anushka Gupta
Anushka Gupta
Jul 24, 2023

I've always been intimidated by computer networking jargon, but Learn Electronics India made it all seem so much easier! The blog on the fundamentals of computer networking is a masterpiece. The writing style is friendly and approachable, making it a joy to read. I can't wait to explore more articles from this talented author.

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