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What is Networking?

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Can your own home network really teach you what is networking?....yes!

Networking is the practice of linking two or more devices together in order to share data. In most cases this can be accomplished by a wireless connection. Networking happens all around us on our phones, wireless home network and even that new smart TV or tablet. Think of when you access the Internet. The internet is the biggest computer network which interconnects millions of computing devices throughout the world.

It consists of:

  • routers
  • switches
  • desktops
  • laptops
  • servers
  • printers
  • network devices: wireless router, laptop, server
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    All of these devices are called nodes.

    When these devices are on the network they must have an IP address.

    An IP address looks like this: 10.0.0.1

    Every device on the network must have its own unique IP address in order to communicate.


    A network that runs on shoes.....

    Back in the early computer days, computers would exchange information through what computer geeks called the sneakernet. That’s where you copy a file to a floppy disk and then walk (using your sneakers) over to another computer to share the information on the disk.

    As you can tell this is a very slow way to exchange information. Can you imagine having to walk over to share a word document? No emails or flash drives around.

    sneakernet cartoon

    So one day someone had a great idea. “Hey let’s use a cable to transmit information to that computer on the 5th floor”. Thus the computer network was born and today they ask themselves what is networking?



    So what is networking? Let’s start simple with an example of your home network…

    At your home your using either a laptop or desktop. It is connected with a cable or wirelessly to your home wireless router.

    PCI Wireless adapter and USB wireless adapter

    If you are connecting wirelessly, your computer is using a wireless network adapter that looks like this…





    It can also have its own built-in wireless adapter. Usually every laptop today brings a built-in wireless adapter and Ethernet port to plug your network cable.

    Your home wireless router broadcasts a signal which your computer’s wireless adapter can pick up and connect to it.

    Your computer calls out to the router for an IP address. It basically says “Hey I need a valid IP address so I can communicate with you and the Internet”

    Your computer can have a static IP address or a dynamic IP address. A static IP address can be configured manually and a dynamic IP address is assigned automatically by your router.

    The router has a poll of IP addresses and keeps track of which ones are in use. The IPs that are not in use, the router will hand out to network devices who want to join the network. This is accomplished using a network protocol called DHCP.

    Remember all network devices must each have a unique IP address.

    Let’s say your office has 100 computers. Can you imagine how long it would take to walk to each one of these workstations and configure a static IP address? This is where DHCP is your best friend. It will allocate IP addresses dynamically and save you lots of time.

    What is Networking and why do you need one?

    Networking enables you to share files with your friends and family. You can send a file through e-mail anywhere in the world. You can store the file on another computer and tell your friend where to retrieve it. You can also share the file by allowing anyone to access the file directly on your hard drive. Whoa…that sounds like what a hacker would do?

    I will show you what you need to know to securely share your computer resources and even some ethical hacking tips and tricks.

    Without a network, you wouldn’t be able to share your only office or home printer with all the other computers that are nearby. This saves you money from buying a printer for each computer to use.


    Network fundamentals make sense when you’re learning..continue to the next section


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