The Importance of Computer Networks
Describes why and how computer networks support successful work
Information and communication are two of the most important strategic issues for the success of every enterprise. While today nearly every organization uses a substantial number of computers and communication tools ( telephones, fax, personal handheld devices), they are often still isolated. While managers today are able to use the newest applications, many departments still do not communicate and much needed information cannot be readily accessed. To overcome these obstacles in an effective usage of information technology, computer networks are necessary. They are a new kind (one might call it paradigm) of organization of computer systems produced by the need to merge computers and communications. At the same time they are the means to converge the two areas; the unnecessary distinction between tools to process and store information and tools to collect and transport information can disappear. Computer networks can manage to put down the barriers between information held on several (not only computer) systems. Only with the help of computer networks can a borderless communication and information environment be built.
Computer networks allow the user to access remote programs and remote databases either of the same organization or from other enterprises or public sources. Computer networks provide communication possibilities faster than other facilities. Because of these optimal information and communication possibilities, computer networks may increase the organizational learning rate, which many authors declare as the only fundamental advantage in competition.
Besides this major reason why any organization should not fail to have a computer network, there are other reasons as well: * cost reduction by sharing hard- and software resources * high reliability by having multiple sources of supply * cost reduction by downsizing to microcomputer-based networks instead of using mainframes * greater flexibility because of possibility to connect devices from various vendors
Networks are often classified by their physical or organizational extent or their purpose. Usage, trust level, and access rights differ between these types of networks.
Personal area network
A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network used for communication among computer and different information technological devices close to one person. Some examples of devices that are used in a PAN are personal computers, printers, fax machines, telephones, PDAs, scanners, and even video game consoles. A PAN may include wired and wireless devices. The reach of a PAN typically extends to 10 meters. A wired PAN is usually constructed with USB and Firewire connections while technologies such as Bluetooth and infrared communication typically form a wireless PAN.
Local area network
A local area network (LAN) is a network that connects computers and devices in a limited geographical area such as home, school, computer laboratory, office building, or closely positioned group of buildings. Each computer or device on the network is a node. Current wired LANs are most likely to be based on Ethernet technology, although new standards like ITU-T G.hn also provide a way to create a wired LAN using existing home wires (coaxial cables, phone lines and power lines).
A sample LAN is depicted in the accompanying diagram. All interconnected devices must understand the network layer (layer 3), because they are handling multiple subnets (the different colors). Those inside the library, which have only 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet connections to the user device and a Gigabit Ethernet connection to the central router, could be called "layer 3 switches" because they only have Ethernet interfaces and must understand IP. It would be more correct to call them access routers, where the router at the top is a