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Published by: richlyn on Jun 07, 2007
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Networks provide users with the ability to share files, printers, resources, and mail, asthough they resided locally on the user’s computer. Computer networks have become soimportant in some settings that they provide the basis for nearly all business transactions.Networks make it possible to share documents and images with people all around the world,literally at the click of a mouse.Computer networking is a very broad topic. There are many types of networks, fromsimple peer-to-peer ones to huge intranets and even the Internet itself. Each type of network canemploy a different combination of network OS, cabling, protocols, and security measures. Thesecombinations are known as the network’s architecture. In fact, CompTIA’s Network+ certificationis based entirely on networking concepts and network architectures. Obviously, a discussion of the full spectrum of network details and specifications is too broad in scope to be contained inthis chapter. However, as a computer technician, you should be aware of basic networkingconcepts so that you can troubleshoot minor problems on networks that have already beenestablished. This chapter focuses on basic concepts of physical networks; Chapter 11 focuses onnetwork protocols and how to configure Windows for network access.
7.1 Classification of Networks
Network is broadly classified into three types based on the
distance, how they areconnected 
how they are related.
The classifications are given below
Geographical Division
(Based on the distance between two computers)
LAN, MAN and WAN are the three types of network which are based on distancebetween the computers.
Local Area Network 
The Local Area Network (LAN) is by far the most common type of data network. As thename suggests, a LAN serves a local area (typically the area of a floor of a building or within aroom)
Fig 7.11] 
.LANs are defined by three primary characteristics: topology, protocol, andmedia. A typical LAN may share resources such as printers, files, or other resources on the LAN.
Fig 7.11: Local Area Network 
LANs are typically very fast and have become extremely cost effective in most situations.An office or home can share a single high-speed laser printer using a LAN and each user wouldhave the perception that they are directly connected to the printer. Typical data transmissionspeeds are one to 100 megabits per second.A wide variety of LANs have been built and installed, but a few types have more recentlybecome dominant. The most widely used LAN system is the
Ethernet system
developed by the
 Xerox Corporation
Metropolitan Area Network 
The network size falls intermediate between LANs and WANs. A MAN typically covers anarea of between 5 and 50 km diameter.
A MAN often acts as a high speed network to allowsharing of regional resources (similar to a large LAN)
Fig 7.12 
. It is also frequently used toprovide a shared connection to other networks using a link to a WAN. Simply we can say thatinterconnection of LAN’s spread over larger area is MAN.
MAN’s are usually characterized byvery high-speed connections using fiber optical cable or other digital media.
Fig 7.12: Metropolitan Area Network 
Wide Area Network 
The term Wide Area Network (WAN)
Fig 7.13
usually refers to a network which covers alarge geographical area, and use communications circuits to connect the intermediate nodes.
Fig 7.13
Metropolitan Area Network 
A major factor impacting WAN design and performance is a requirement that they leasecommunications circuits from telephone companies or other communications carriers.Transmission rates are typically 2 Mbps, 34 Mbps, 45 Mbps, 155 Mbps, 625 Mbps (or sometimesconsiderably more). Simple example is
(Based on how they are connected)
A topology is defined as the layout of the network. This describes how the networkphysically looks or how the network is physically designed. The concept of a topology isimportant because each network card is designed to work with a specific topology. Conversely, if your network cable is already installed and you want to use existing wiring, you must select your network cards based on the preexisting physical topology. Ideally, you can design your networkfrom scratch. Then you can choose your topology, cabling, and network cards based on whatbest meets your needs.This section will review the commonly defined topologies:1. Star topology2. Bus topology3. Ring topology
Bus Topology:
Physically, a bus topology uses a linear segment of cable to connect all network devices.Devices typically connect to the bus (the cable) through T-connectors (
Fig 7.14
). At each end of the bus are terminators. Each terminator absorbs the signal when it reaches the end of the cable.Without a terminator, a signal would bounce back and cause network errors.The physical bus topology uses a logical bus to transmit data on the cable in bothdirections. In a logical bus topology, only one transmission can occur at any given moment.Otherwise, two transmissions would collide and cause network errors. Termination ensures thatthe signal is removed from the cable when it reaches either end, preventing possible networkerrors.
Fig 7.14 Bus TopologyBenefits
The benefits of a bus topology include the following:1. This is one of the least expensive topologies to install, because it uses less cable thanthe star topology and needs no hardware for a central device.2. It is an easy way to network a small number of computers.
The drawbacks of a bus topology include the following:1. If there is a break in the cable, the entire network will fail.2. This topology can be difficult to troubleshoot because cabling problems often cannotbe isolated to one computer.

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