1 Communications Networks
Remember 1. Explain the purpose of a communications Network. The purpose of a communications network is to send out data in a range of forms (for example, voice and video) among the systems. 2. Define the term `node'. Node is the term that describes each device on a network. 3. Discuss three advantages of setting up a network. • • • Ability to share peripheral devices. Peripheral devices such as printers and photocopiers can be very costly. A network enables one printer to be shared by several users, consequently dropping costs. Sharing a single internet connection. With the suitable software and hardware, a network allows many workstations to share a single internet connection. Access to databases. A lot of companies have online databases. These can be shared by lots of users in a number of locations.

4. Discuss two disadvantages of setting up a network. • • • Cost of Installation. A complex network can charge hundreds of dollars to install. This first outlay must be weighed against the possible long term saving of a network. Equipment Failure. When file servers crash, users lose access to network resources, data and the Internet and this can have a considerable effect on output. Security. It is critical to secure both the network and the data it contains. Networks are targets for hackers and viruses so suitable actions are needed to stop unsuitable use and loss of data. Such measures include firewalls, passwords, secure tape backups and uninterruptible power supplies, which give the server enough time to shut down correctly in the event of power failure.

5. Describe the two classifications of networks. Networks can be classified as either client-server or peer-to-peer networks. A client-server network is based on a central server or servers with many clients. Typically, the server stores user files and data, authenticates users and provides other services such as printing and data backup. Users need to log in to gain access to shared resources. This also ensures that only registered users have access to files and resources.

Networks that function without a central server are peer-to-peer networks. All nodes on the network have equal status. Fundamentally, the computers are linked either directly to each other or through a hub or switch. Users then set up shared folders on their hard drives to enable file sharing.

6. Explain why the Internet could be called the world's largest communications network. The internet could be called the world’s largest communications network because as it sends out information and date through different forms to users all over the world.