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Last modified: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 

(n.) A group of two or more computer systems linked together. There are many types of computer networks, including:
  • local-area networks (LANs) : The computers are geographically close together (that is, in the same building).
  • wide-area networks (WANs) : The computers are farther apart and are connected by telephone lines or radio waves.
  • campus-area networks (CANs): The computers are within a limited geographic area, such as a campus or military base.
  • metropolitan-area networks MANs): A data network designed for a town or city.
  • home-area networks (HANs): A network contained within a user's home that connects a person's digital devices.
  • In addition to these types, the following characteristics are also used to categorize different types of networks:

  • topology : The geometric arrangement of a computer system. Common topologies include a bus, star, and ring. See the Network topology diagrams in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.
  • protocol : The protocol defines a common set of rules and signals that computers on the network use to communicate. One of the most popular protocols for LANs is called Ethernet. Another popular LAN protocol for PCs is the IBM token-ring network .
  • architecture : Networks can be broadly classified as using either a peer-to-peer or client/server architecture.
  • Computers on a network are sometimes called nodes. Computers and devices that allocate resources for a network are called servers.

    (v.) To connect two or more computers together with the ability to communicate with each other.

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    For pages about network . Also check out the following links!

    Related Links

    Feature articles and opinions on networking and communications.

    The Truth About Servers 
    What makes a server a server? Is there a difference between an e-mail server and a messaging server? Should a firewall be considered a server in certain circumstances? These questions and more are answered in an extensive tutorial that cuts through the marketing hype and explains the basics of key server types.

    Ultimate Guide to Networking 
    Introduction to networking, a run-through of networking terms and lingo, and descriptions of networking hardware.

    Communications News Home page
    An electronic magazine that provides articles containing practical information on today's corporate communications networks.

    Computer and Communications Standards
    Comprehensive collection of links to telecommunications standards and information pages.

    Computer Networking Resources
    From the Mining Company, the page hosts a collection of resource links to computer network information. Includes are feature articles, tips,and troubleshooting information.

    Direct Connect
    Contains information on how to network two computers on any Windows platforms using an inexpensive cable. Includes illustrated guides for use of interlink, direct cable connect, and remote access service. This form of networking is useful for transferring files from a notebook computer to a desktop, transferring files to a new computer, or sharing a printer.

    Greater Boston Network Users Group
    This organization is dedicated to helping members understand, use, and manage computer networks. They offer links to information on their organization, as well as network reference sites.

    Lucent Technologies home page
    Site of Lucent Technologies and offers links to their range of services, consumer products, programs, and company information.

    Network Magazine Online
    Offers an excellent collection of articles, tutorials, product guides and news and analysis.

    Network Professional Association (NPA)
    Contains organization and membership information, along with links to technical resources, training and certification, journals, and news.

    Network Standards Organizations
    Descriptions and links to the major international, regional, and national network standards institutes.

    Optical Networks Tutorial
    Excellent overview of optical networks. Addresses questions and explains the technologies, architectures, and market trends for emerging optical networks.

    Protocol Dictionary
    Information on all network protocols, including a precise overview of the protocol, a detailed protocol format, related protocols and reference links.

    Provides solutions that monitor distributed applications enterprise networks
    NetScout Systems is the industry leader in providing standards-based solutions that monitor distributed applications from end to end across enterprise networks. NetScout’s family of products provide the broadest view of your enterprise network, regardless of its topology.

    The Information Technology Professional's Resource Center (ITPRC)
    Provides links to technical information relating to data networking, networking, and career management information. The site also includes message and chat areas for IT professionals.

    The PC Technology Guide
    Outlines the principal networking technologies in general and the various solutions devised to support home networking in particular. Includes graphics, diagrams and an integrated glossary.

    What Network Do You Need?
    An overview of the different types of networks possibilities, from peer-to-pear to client/server, and what kind of products you need to run them.

    Yahoo!'s communication and networking index
    Yahoo!'s directory of communications and networking.

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    Network Liquidators: Used & Refurbished Network Equipment - An online destination for discount used, refurbished, and new open box network equipment. Up to 90% off list price.

    RemotelyAnywhere: Network Monitoring Tool - Offers a secure remote PC management application featuring an administration toolkit, monitoring and alerts, and a console for enterprise deployment.

    Gateway: Building a Network - Provider of computer networking services for businesses. Includes network hardware, consulting, design, installation and support.

    related categories


    related terms

    5-4-3 rule



    cache coherence



    client/server architecture


    dedicated server




    heterogeneous network


    local-area network




    network management

    network-attached storage

    packet switching



    remote access server


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