Computer network

From ArticleWorld

A computer network can be defined as a system of communication between two or more computers they can be either permanent or temporary


Computers network are defined as being a system of communication between two or more computers. Depending on the type of connection used (via cables or modems) they can be categorised into permanent and temporary. There are other types of categorisation:

  • By their function and relation:
  1. Peer to peer also known as a workgroup, this is a more recent type of network
  2. Client-server
  • By topology (structure):
  1. Star type of network
  2. Ring type of network
  3. Mesh type of network
  4. Bus type of network
  5. Star-bus type of network
  • By the number and relative geographical position of computers in use:
  1. Personal area network (PAN)
  2. Local area network (LAN)
  3. Metropolitan area network (MAN)
  4. Wide area network (WAN)
  • By the specialised finction they serve:
  1. Storage area networks
  2. Value added network
  3. SOHO network
  4. Wireless community network
  5. Server farms
  6. Process control networks

Brief history

The history of computer networks precedes the history of computers themselves and goes back to the world war two era. A pioneer in this field was George Stibitz who in the early forties who transmitted calculation data to his complex number calculator through a teletype machine. With the advent of computers the experiments greatly multiplied and reached a critical mass in the early sixties when the great scientist J.C.R. Licklider formulated the galactic network, remarkably similar in concept with the internet we have today, also in the same period researchers in Dartmouth College invented and implemented the concept of time-sharing. In parralel a research group at MIT managed to use a computer in routing and managing phone connections. The advent of modern computer networks concept is closely related though to Paul Baran who in 1968 proposed the usage of packets or datagrams to be used to exchange information between computers. The first modern network to be actually created was the now famous ARPAnet a child of the ARPA project (Advanced Research Projects Agency), it used a connection of 50 kbits/s which roughly equals about 6 kb/s. The current explosion of computer network technology mainly occured due to the advent of internet more then ten years ago.