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Introduction to Information Systems 3rd

Introduction to Information Systems 3rd


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Published by: jwagnre4321 on Aug 28, 2011
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A computer networkis a system that connects computers via communications media so that data can
be transmitted among them. Computer networks are essential to modern organizations for many reasons.
First, networked computer systems enable organizations to be more flexible so they can adapt to rapidly
changing business conditions. Second, networks enable companies to share hardware, computer
applications, and data across the organization and among different organizations. Third, networks make
it possible for geographically dispersed employees and work groups to share documents, ideas, and
creative insights. This sharing encourages teamwork, innovation, and more efficient and effective
interactions. Finally, networks are a critical link between businesses and their customers.
There are various types of computer networks, ranging from small to worldwide. Types of
networks include (from smallest to largest) personal area networks (PANs), local area networks
(LANs), metropolitan area networks (MANs), wide area networks (WANs), and the Internet. PANs
are short-range networks (typically a few meters) used for communication among devices close to
one person. PANs can be wired or wireless. We discuss wireless PANs in Chapter 7. MANs are
relatively large computer networks that cover a metropolitan area. MANs fall between LANs and
WANs in size. In this section, we discuss local area and wide area networks. We consider the basics
of the Internet and the World Wide Web in Technology Guide 5.

Local Area Networks

A local area network (LAN)connects two or more devices in a limited geographical region, usually
within the same building, so that every device on the network can communicate with every other
device. Figure TG4.6 shows a LAN with four computers and a printer that connect via a switch, which
is a special-purpose computer that allows the devices in a LAN to communicate directly with each
other. Every device in a LAN has a network interface card(NIC) that allows the device to physically
connect to the LAN’s communications medium. This medium is typically unshielded twisted-pair
wire (UTP).

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