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Introducing Networks

network is created when more than one device is connected together. A network can be a small collection of computers connected within a building (eg a school, business or home) or it can be a wide collection of computers connected around the world.

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Main Purpose

The main purpose of networking is to share data between computers

Advantages of using a network

  • Communication – it is easy (and often free) to communicate using email, text messages, voice calls and video calls.

  • Roaming – if information is stored on a network, it means users are not fixed to one place. They can use computers anywhere in the world to access their information.

  • Sharing information – it is easy to share files and information over a network. Music and video files, for instance, can be stored on one device and shared across many computers, so every computer does not need to fill the hard drive with files.

  • Sharing resources – it is easy to share resources such as printers. Twenty computers in a room could share one printer over a network.

  • Sharing software – it is possible to stream software using web applications. This avoids needing to download and store the whole software file.

Disadvantages

  • Dependence – users relying on a network might be stuck without access to it.

  • Hacking - criminal hackers attempt to break into networks in order to steal personal information and banking details. This wouldn't be possible on a stand-alone computer without physically getting into the room, but with a network it is easier to gain access.

  • Hardware – routers, network cards and other network hardware is required to set up a network. At home, it is quite easy to set up a wireless network without much technical expertise. However, a complicated network in a school or an office would require professional expertise.

  • Viruses - networks make it easier to share viruses and other malware. They can quickly spread and damage files on many computers via a network.

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