What is a network

Internet What is a network?

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Almost everyone has come across the word "network" in connection with computers or other technology. But what does it actually mean when computers are "networked" with one another? And can a network have advantages? We illustrate this and other information below.

What is a network?

In information technology, a network is fundamentally defined as a connection between at least two systems. If you take a look at your home network, it quickly becomes clear that there are often more than two devices connected to the network. PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, consoles and gadgets - almost everything is networked these days. The connection or networking takes place in most cases via a common connection to a router. The devices are not only connected to each other via the router, but in most cases also to the Internet.

Tip:If you want to learn more about what a router is, read this post.

A home network or local network is called a LAN (Local Area Network). Modern routers usually transmit wirelessly and are no longer connected to all devices via a LAN cable. This type of network is called WLAN (Wireless LAN, i.e. wireless LAN). In addition to the network function, the Internet connection is also maintained. A local network via LAN cable or WLAN enables several functions: The devices can communicate with each other and enable access rights to shared files and resources via granted shares. This gives you the following advantage as a user: Files can be edited without having to be sent to another computer in the network. A common home network must be set up for this - we also explain this step-by-step in the linked article.

There are some network-enabled devices that are not directly a computer. These can be home servers or printers, for example. The printer can be configured in such a way that every user on the network can send their documents to be printed over the connection and the printer then prints out the documents one after the other. In this article we will explain how to set up a network printer. A home server, such as a NAS, can be used to create shared storage for all network users. For example, images can be stored and retrieved together there - comparable to a cloud, only without the Internet. Read here how to set up a NAS.

If you break down the types of networks according to their structure, the simplest network can be represented as a union of two computers. This is also where the technical term Peer-to-Peer connection used. With a peer-to-peer connection, a network is established (briefly) between computers that are not in the same location. This strategy is often used when downloading certain programs, in that the computer is also used as an upload medium during the download. Today's networks are far more complex and consist of several systems due to the large number of end devices. Here come so-called Server-client networks for use. Pictured on your home network, all devices are connected to the router as clients. In this case, the router represents the central point in the network - i.e. the server. The connected computers communicate with the Internet via this.

The Internet of Things is another type of network. The Internet of Things is a collective term. In most cases, this means networking the household and bringing computers and smart devices together. The coffee machine can possibly be operated at the push of a button on the smartphone. This is also done via a local network. In addition, many companies still have the intranet. This describes a computer network to which only local computers are connected and to which there is no public access. In this way, files can be made accessible within the company. Sometimes certain websites are only visible on computers that are part of the intranet.