Networking is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data. Networks are built with a mix of computer hardware and computer software. Common examples of area network types are:
CAN - Campus Area Network, Controller Area Network, or sometimes Cluster Area Network
PAN - Personal Area Network
DAN - Desk Area Network
LAN - Local Area Network
LAN connects networking devices with in short spam of area, i.e. small offices, home, internet cafes etc. LAN uses TCP/IP network protocol for communication between computers. It is often but not always implemented as a single IP subnet. Since LAN is operated in short area so It can be control and administrate by single person or organization.
WAN - Wide Area Network
As “word” Wide implies, WAN, wide area network cover large distance for communication between computers. The Internet itself is the biggest example of Wide area network, WAN, which is covering the entire earth. WAN is distributed collection of geographically LANs. A network connecting device router connects LANs to WANs. WAN used network protocols like ATM, X.25, and Frame Relay for long distance connectivity.
Wireless - Local Area Network
A LAN, local area network based on wireless network technology mostly referred as Wi-Fi. Unlike LAN, in WLAN no wires are used, but radio signals are the medium for communication. Wireless network cards are required to be installed in the systems for accessing any wireless network around. Mostly wireless cards connect to wireless routers for communication among computers or accessing WAN, internet. MAN - Metropolitan Area Network
This kind of network is not mostly used but it has its own importance for some government bodies and organizations on larger scale. MAN, metropolitan area network falls in middle of LAN and WAN, It covers large span of physical area than LAN but smaller than WAN, such as a city.
CAN - Campus Area Network
Networking spanning with multiple LANs but smaller than a Metropolitan area network, MAN. This kind of network mostly used in relatively large universities or local business offices and buildings.
SAN - Storage Area Network
SAM technology is used for data storage and it has no use for most of the organization but data oriented organizations. Storage area network connects servers to data storage devices by using Fiber channel technology.
SAN - System Area Network
SAN, system area networks are also known as cluster area network and it connects high performance computers with high speed connections in cluster configuration.
Advantages of A NETWORK:
Speed: Sharing and transferring files within Networks are very rapid. Thus, saving time while maintaining the integrity of the file
Cost: Individually licensed copies of many popular software programs can be costly. Networkable versions are available at considerable savings. Shared programs, on a network allows for easier upgrading of the program on one single file server, instead of upgrading individual workstations.
Security: Sensitive files and programs on a network are passwords protected (established for specific directories to restrict access to authorized users) or designated as "copy inhibit," so that you do not have to worry about illegal copying of programs.
Centralized Software Management: Software can be loaded on one computer (the file server) eliminating that need to spend time and energy installing updates and tracking files on independent computers throughout the building.
Resource Sharing: Resources such as, printers, fax machines and modems can be shared.
Electronic Mail: E-mail aids in personal and professional communication. Electronic mail on a LAN can enable staff to communicate within the building having tot to leave their desk.
Flexible Access: Access their files from computers throughout the firm.
Workgroup Computing: Workgroup software (such as Microsoft BackOffice) allows many users to work on a document or project concurrently.
LOCAL AREA NETWORK (LAN):
A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line or wireless link. Typically, connected devices share the resources of a single processor or server within a small geographic area (for example, within an office building). Usually, the server has applications and data storage that are shared in common by multiple computer users. A local area network may serve as few as two or three users (for example, in a home network) or as many as thousands of users (for example, in an FDDI network).
Major local area network technologies are:
WIRED OR WIRELESS NETWORK:I will recommend wired LAN network, it is because of the following reasons; wireless network is best for home use because of its ease in portability.
Wired LAN is faster and much more secure, since you're not broadcasting anything through the air. That means anyone who wants on your network needs a LAN connection, they can't just park in your driveway and get on it. Most Ethernet cards today are 10/100 MBit/sec and 1000 MBit/sec is becoming increasingly common (especially in corporate fields).
Wireless LAN is near painless to set up though. No wiring needed and you can have a network up and running in no time. It's also not that hard to make it fairly secure through use of pass codes and such. Wireless has two standards and a third that is going to be introduced soon.
802.11b is 11 Mbit/sec
802.11g is 54 Mbit/sec
One other thing that should be noted about wireless is that the weaker the signal you have the slower overall rate of transfer you'll achieve. Wireless is good if you're mainly interested in sharing a broadband connectionin your house. The fastest home-consumer broadband options commonly top out at 8 Mbit/sec and are usually operating under that. That speed is within the capabilities of wireless connections. However, if you are going to move a lot of data from computer to computer, you are going to feel limited by wireless. Even though 802.11g is max of 54 Mbit/sec, you usually see transfers around 20 Mbit/sec average. If you're moving gigabytes of data between computers, a 1000 Mbit/sec wired LAN is going to serve your purpose much better than wireless.
Cables can be a hassle.. Clutter and cumbersome.
If you've got 4 plugs on your router, you can connect 4 wired computers, that's it.
Freedom from cables.
Unlimited numbers of devices can be connected at once.
Requires a small amount of tech know-how to set up and maintain.
You're broadcasting your internet to your neighbors who can access it if not secured (doesn't always stop them).
Slower speeds, (slower when you've got walls and distance between you and the router)
Advantages of Wired Networking
Wired connections can reach networking speeds of up to 1000 Mbps with NETGEAR's Gigabit Ethernet networking equipment, necessary for bandwidth hungry users such as avid gamers, graphic designers or users downloading large media files. However, for most users 54 or 108 Mbps networking speeds are more than sufficient for everyday networking activities such as: Emailing, surfing the web, downloading files, music and video, accessing corporate information and playing console games.
Physical, fixed wired connections are not prone to interference and fluctuations in available bandwidth, which can affect some wireless networking connections.
If you decide to build a wired home network, you don't have to worry about your networking signal travelling through the air and being interrupted by eavesdroppers (snoopers), which can happen if you don't protect your wireless network. There are very effective security measures (encryption) for wireless networks - you just need to remember to add passwords to your wireless network settings to stop neighbors from nicking your wireless connection. This is very easy to do.
Advantages of Wireless Networking
Portable & Flexible
Wireless networking devices from NETGEAR enable you to use your computer, laptop or games console anywhere in the house and be on the network or get access to the Internet. Even if you have a large house, wireless signal will generally go through walls and ceilings. If you need to extend distances you can use access points to boost the wireless signal.
Buying and installing structured Ethernet networking cables into your home can be a costly exercise. Setting up a basic wireless home network can cost significantly less.
Neat & Safe
If you choose to set-up a wireless home network you do not need to run cables across your house, which can create trip hazards across rooms, hallways and stairs. Also choosing to set-up a wireless home network means that you do not need to run cables underneath carpets or drill holes through walls or ceilings to pass cables through.
Hardware Devices for Network Setup:
There are five different types of network hardware: signal managers, cables, adapters, interface units and data centers. Network hardware is a general term for the physical devices and units that are required to create a computer network. A computer network is a system of multiple computers that are interconnected in order to create efficiencies and maximize resources.
Common basic networking devices:
Gateway: device sitting at a network node for interfacing with another network that uses different protocols. Works on OSI layers 4 to 7.
Router: a specialized network device that determines the next network point to which to forward a data packet toward its destination. Unlike a gateway, it cannot interface different protocols. Works on OSI layer 3.
Bridge: a device that connects multiple network segments along the data link layer. Works on OSI layer 2.
Switch: a device that allocates traffic from one network segment to certain lines (intended destination(s)) which connect the segment to another network segment. So unlike a hub a switch splits the network traffic and sends it to different destinations rather than to all systems on the network. Works on OSI layer 2.
Hub: connects multiple Ethernet segments together making them act as a single segment. When using a hub, every attached device shares the same broadcast domain and the same collision domain. Therefore, only one computer connected to the hub is able to transmit at a time. Depending on the network topology, the hub provides a basic level 1 OSI model connection among the network objects (workstations, servers, etc). It provides bandwidth which is shared among all the objects, compared to switches, which provide a dedicated connection between individual nodes. Works on OSI layer 1.
Repeater: device to amplify or regenerate digital signals received while setting them from one part of a network into another. Works on OSI layer 1.
Some hybrid network devices:
Multilayer Switch: a switch which, in addition to switching on OSI layer 2, provides functionality at higher protocol layers.
Protocol Converter: a hardware device that converts between two different types of transmissions, such as asynchronous and synchronous transmissions.
Bridge Router (Brouter): Combine router and bridge functionality and are therefore working on OSI layers 2 and 3.
Hardware or software components that typically sit on the connection point of different networks, e.g. between an internal network and an external network:
Proxy: computer network service which allows clients to make indirect network connections to other network services
Firewall: a piece of hardware or software put on the network to prevent some communications forbidden by the network policy
Network Address Translator: network service provide as hardware or software that converts internal to external network addresses and vice versa
Setting up a Network:
A hardwired network depends on Ethernet cards and CAT-5 cables, and a router (under certain conditions) with the proper CAT-5 connection attached. CAT-5 cable is specially made for making secure network connections. They use an RJ45 connector and cable boot. They are easy to make, and although you can buy them at various lengths, to keep an installation neat, it is best to make your own. A special crimp tool is made to attach the RJ45 connectors, and will strip the wire in the process. You then match the connector to the cable, and crimp. It is very easy to do. Many higher end computers come with an Ethernet card already installed. An Ethernet allows physical access to a networking medium, doing so through both a hardware and data medium.
Your first objective should be designing your network. The standard rule for hardwired networks is that the CAT-5 cable run should not exceed 250 feet to maintain system integrity. Some systems have been set up with runs of 600 feet without problems using CAT- 6 cable.
A router is used to help the computers communicate with the internet. The router, the brain of the network, assigns each unique IP address to each computer. The router is connected directly to the modem, and from the router, each computer can be connected.
Step 1: Shut down your computer if it is turned on. Connect your DSL or cable modem, if any, to your network router using an Ethernet cable. Then connect the router directly to the back of the computer using another Ethernet cable. Install any software that came with your router.
Step 2: Install access points on each computer that will be on your wireless network. Install the software for your access points. If you are installing a wired network, you will need to run Ethernet cable through your attic or walls from the primary computer to each other computer. Connect the Ethernet cable for your wired network directly to the network interface card of your work group computers.
Step 3: Run the "Network Setup Wizard" if you will be connecting a wireless network. Click "Start," "My Network Places" and "Set up a home or small office network" on the computer that is connected to your router. Click "Next." In the next screen, click "Yes" if you already have an existing shared Internet Connection. Click "No" if you would like to set up a new connection. In the next window type in the name and description of your computer if the fields are not already filled in. Type your work group name and select whether you would like to turn on file and printer sharing in the next windows.
Step 4: Select "Just Finish the Wizard" if you have Windows XP installed on the other work group computers in your wireless network. However, if you have a different Windows operating system on the other computers, select "Create a network setup disk." Click "Next," then click "Finish."
Step 5: Run the "Network Setup Wizard" on all your other work group computers. Use the network setup disk on any computer that is running Windows 95, 98 or Millennium Edition. Give each work group computer a different description, but type in the same work group name on each computer.
Step 6: Click "Start," "Connect To" and "Show All Connections" on each work group computer. Select the connection that corresponds to your access point. In the left pane select "View Available Wireless Networks" if your connection is wireless. If you are on a wired network, open your browser to see if you have an Internet connection. Also click "Start” and "My Network Places" to view other work group computers on your network.
Home, Wireless and Internet Network Security
As networks become an integral part of everyone's lives, advanced network security technologies are being developed to protect data and preserve privacy, especially Internet privacy.
Proxy Servers / Lists:
Wireless Network Security
A basic firewall like COMODO Internet Security or a unified threat management system.
For Windows users, basic Antivirus software like AVG Antivirus, Antivirus, Kaspersky, McAfee, or Norton Antivirus. An anti-spyware program such as Windows Defender or Spybot would also be a good idea. There are many other types of antivirus or anti-spyware programs out there to be considered.
When using a wireless connection, use a robust password. Also try to use the strongest security supported by your wireless devices, such as WPA or WPA2 with AES encryption.
If using Wireless: Change the default SSID network name, also disable SSID Broadcast; as this function is unnecessary for home use.
For authentication, use strong passwords and change it on a weekly/bi-weekly basis.