Who are we?

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What is a Network?

A Network is simply the infrastructure that connects a number of electronic devices so that data can be transferred between them. By devices I could mean computers (PC's, Apple Mac's, PDA's) or printers, scanners, modems, etc.

In this page I will refer mainly to computers instead of devices. Oh and by the way, I'm primarily a PC man so when I say computer I'm usually thinking of a PC. Please ask in the forum if you have another system and are not sure about something!

What types of Networks are there?

Networks can take many different physical forms. The main categories of networks in order of distance are:

PAN Personal Area Network Used to connect wireless devices carried by a person (e.g. PDA, mobile, etc.). Bluetooth technology is currently the prime contender for this LAN Local Area Network Used to connect computers in a building wLAN Wireless Local Area Network Used to connect computers within a 100m (300ft) range without wires MAN Metropolitan Area Network Used to connect computers in a town/city WAN Wide Area Network Used to connect computers whatever their location

If you are more interested in this, try looking up network topologies and technical terms in Webopedia and WhatIs and current and emerging standards in WWW Consortium.

Do You need a LAN?

First of all - do you need a LAN? Well that depends on what you want to do...

A LAN will allow you to:

  • Allow all of your computers to share an Internet connection
  • Share data (e.g. Word documents, music, video and any other type of file) between computers
  • Share printers, scanners and other networkable devices
  • Stream music and video from one computer to another (as opposed to downloading and then running locally)
  • Play multi-player games
  • Backup data
  • Video-conference (e.g. from one room to another)
  • etc.

NOTE: The LAN can be set up so that areas of a persons hard disk, and various peripherals are NOT accessible by others on the network. This is discussed in the other sections of this website