Notes and Study Materials

Computer Network and Advantages of Computer Networks 

 

A network is a set of technologies including hardware, software, and media that can he used to connect computers together, enabling them to communicate, exchange information, and share resources in real time. Networks allow many users to access shared data and programs almost instantly. When data and programs are stored on a network and arc shared, individual users can substantially reduce the need for programs on their own computers.

 

The uses of computer networks are as follows:

1. Simultaneous Access:

 

In some situations when several workers may need to use the same data at the same time. A good example is a company's quarterly sales report, which needs to be viewed and updated by several managers. Without a network that allows workers to share files, workers must keep separate copies of data stored on different disks by each worker who accesses the data.

 

When the data is modified on one computer, data on the other computers becomes outdated. It becomes difficult to determine which copy of the data is the most current. Companies can solve this problem by storing commonly used data at a central location, usually on a network server and also called as server.

 

A network server is a central computer with a large storage device and other resources that all users can share. In addition to using many of the same data files, most office workers also use the same programs. In an environment where PCs arc not networked, a separate copy of each program must be installed on every computer. This setup can be increased the cost. It can be reduced by placing the all the software programs in the server.

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2. Shared Peripheral Devices

 

The ability to share peripheral devices (especially expensive ones such as high volume laser printers, which can cost thousands of rupees) is one of the best reasons for small businesses to set up a network. Although printers are more affordable than they were a few years ago, it is still too expensive to provide every worker with a personal printer. Aside from the cost of buying multiple printers, maintenance contracts and supplies increase the total cost of ownership. When several people can share a printer on a network, printing becomes less expensive and easier to manage.

 

3. Personal Communications 

 

One of the most far-reaching applications of data communications is electronic mail (e-mail), a system for exchanging written messages (and, increasingly, voice and video messages) through a network. In addition to e-mail, the spread of networking technology is adding to the popularity of teleconferencing. A teleconference is any kind of multiway communication carried out in real time using telecommunications or computer networks and equipment. In a teleconference, audio and video signals travel across a local area network through the use of cables and switches or across the network’s Internet connections to remote sites located throughout the world. Subcategories of teleconferencing include

 

Videoconferencing:

Videoconferencing enables real-time communication over a distance by allowing people at two or more sites to communicate with each other by seeing a video picture of the people at the other sites. Each site has one or more cameras, microphones, loudspeakers, and monitors, as well as a CODEC(compressor /decompressor), which processes the audio and video. It aims to create a sense of a person at a distant site appearing to be there in the same room, an effect that has been called virtual presence.

 

 

Audio-conferencing:

Audio-conferencing provides an audio link similar to that of a conventional telephone, except that it offers much higher-quality audio and enables more than two sites to be linked together. Using hands-free audio units with sensitive microphones and sophisticated echo-cancellation software, audio-conferencing enables communication between groups of participants.

 

Data-conferencing:

Data-conferencing enables participants at two or more sites to have a shared workspace on their computer desktops. This might be a shared "whiteboard" where they can draw, write, or import and manipulate images collaboratively in real time. Or it might be “application sharing" where a piece of software can be run and controlled by both users. Data conferencing is often used in conjunction with video- or audio-conferencing and can be useful when users at different sites want to work together on documents.

 

Easier Data Backup:

In business, data is extremely valuable, so it is important that employees back up their data. One way to assure that data is backed up is to keep it on a shared storage device that employees can access through a network. Often the network manager makes regular backups of the data on the shared storage device managers also can use special software to back up files stored on employees’ hard drives from a central location. With this method, files do not have to be copied to the server before they can be backed up.

 

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