Introduction to Computer Networks


Do you know, earlier computer systems were highly centralized within a single large room like glass rooms?

Even a medium based company used to have not more than 2 or 3 computers.

Then the concept of computer networks was discovered, let’s know more about it.

What is a Computer Network?

Computer network can be described as a collection of self-governed independent computers that are connected by a single cable or in general, a single technology.

Computer network enables two computers to exchange information, and thus the two computers are then said to be interconnected.

Connection between two computers can be through copper wire, fiber optics, microwaves, infrared or satellite.

Note – Internet, or the WWW can be described as a computer network.  Internet is a network of networks and WWW is a distributed system that runs on the top of the internet.

What are the uses of Computer Networks?

Business Applications of Networks

Resource Sharing

The goal of resource sharing is to make all programs, equipment, and data available to anyone on the network without regard of the physical location  of the resource and the user.

For example, group of office workers share a common printer.

Client Server

The data is stored on a powerful computers called servers. SERVER maintains all the database, users use CLIENT to access remote data from anywhere.

This whole arrangement is called as Client Server Model.

The client-server model involves requests and replies.

client server model

Communication Medium

Computer network provides powerful communication medium that are used for various purposes like

  • Sending Email
  • Video Conferencing
  • E-Commerce
  • Chat Network

Home Network Applications

  • Access to remote information – Filing taxes, browsing sports, travel, eBooks etc.  This leads to interaction between a person and remote database that is full of information.
  • Electronic Commerce
  • Person to person communication – Chat rooms, Blogs etc.
  • Interactive entertainment – Social network, video on demand etc.

Note – There is also a Peer-to-Peer Communication, comes under person to person communication. In this system, there are no fixed clients and servers.

peer to peer network

Mobile Network Users

Common use case of wireless networks is portability, using fixed wireless networks and mobile wireless computing.

Network Hardware

There are two important dimensions which stand into which all computer networks fit,

  • Transmission technology
  • Scale

Transmission Technology

  • Broadcast Links – Broadcast networks have a single communication channel that is shared by all the machines on the network. Short messages, called packets in certain contexts, sent by any machine are
    received by all the others. An address field within the packet
    specifies the intended recipient. Upon receiving a packet, a
    machine checks the address field. If the packet is intended for
    the receiving machine, that machine processes the packet; if
    the packet is intended for some other machine, it is just
    ignored. For example, Sending SMS to groups.


  • Point to point links – Point-to-point networks consist of many connections between individual pairs of machines. To go from the source to the destination, a packet on this type of network may have to first visit one or more intermediate machines.


Classification of interconnected processors by scale

scale network hardware

Scope for Research in the field of Computer Networks

  • Security in computer networks
  • Bandwidth improvement for data communication over networks
  • Research for better data rates

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