Tech Academy: Computer Networks

Has anyone ever asked you about your computer network? What kind do you have? How big is it? How is it set up? It doesn’t matter if you are a one-person operation or a growing small business - your network is at the heart of your company’s technology. To help you understand more about the basics, today’s Tech Academy is dedicated to exploring the ins and outs of computer networks.

What is a computer network?

The most simple definition of a network is this: two (or more) computers linked together in order to share resources. Computers can share everything from information to printers.

How are the computers actually connected?

There are several different ways that a computer can be connected to another. Common connections include cables, telephone lines, satellite, radio waves, and infrared light beams.

Why would I want my computer to be connected to a network?

An individual computer has amazing capabilities. It can process and store the information that your business needs to survive. The purpose of connecting your computer to a network is to increase and enhance those same capabilities. When your computers are connected to a network, you can do such things as:
  • Communicate with other people through email, video conferencing, instant messaging, etc.
  • Allow multiple computers access to business equipment, such as scanners, faxes, or printers
  • Allow multiple employees access to the same files from different computers
  • And so much more...

Is there more than one kind of computer network?

There are actually A LOT of different network types. The most common include:
  • Local Area Networks (LAN)
  • Personal Area Networks (PAN)
  • Home Area Networks (HAN)
  • Wide Area Networks (WAN)
  • Campus Networks
  • Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN)
  • Enterprise Private Networks
  • Backbone Networks (BBN)
  • Global Area Networks (GAN)
The most popular computer network is one that you probably use every single day. It’s the Internet. The Internet is one of the largest networks around, connecting millions of computers to each other every single day.

How can my computer network improve my small business?

Great question! Check back next week as we take a look at the answer.