Understanding Networks

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Understanding Networks

Although you are probably taking this class to learn about computer networks, and some of you probably already know how important networks are to businesses that want to survive, we will begin this discussion as though you are an employee in a netologically disadvantaged (my term for those who have minimal network awareness) company. You might actually be an employee working for such a company and trying to help it out of that predicament, or you may know of people or companies that are in this sort of struggle.

Lauren has recently been hired as the computer manager for SinkRSwim Pools. Lauren is a certified networking administrator, but her new company unfortunately has only outdated computers. The owner recognized that the company’s lack of growth was directly tied to the employees’ lack of computer skills, so in her first meeting after being hired, Lauren was given the authority to purchase the additional computers and create the network she had proposed to the owner in her initial job interview. The owner gave her a six-month timeline in which to implement networking at SinkRSwim Pools in such a way that the workers will understand its use and welcome the new knowledge it requires. She was also informed that the thought of learning new computer skills frightened some long-term SinkRSwim Pools employees. The owner expects Lauren to help them become more at ease with the computers so they will be more likely to learn the necessary skills.

Lauren’s first goal is to ease the workers’ fears by teaching them about computers and showing them how a need for networks develops naturally. Lauren knows that if her fellow employees understand the concept of networking, the computer network will more likely be successful in the company. Lauren has decided to review basic network concepts with her co-worker’s as she works with them on their new computers.

Human Networks

In its broadest sense, a network consists of two or more entities, or objects, sharing resources and information. Although this book is about computer networks, there are networks that don’t involve computers, and those networks are everywhere. You have grown accustomed to working with them, possibly without even knowing it. It may not matter to you that, in a basic sense, sharing (giving or getting) is a fundamental aspect of networking. You just know that you do it.

Family Network

Most people belong to a family network in which related people share their resources and information. This sharing is bi-directional because even the youngest family members share information of some sort. As the family grows, so does the network.

Peer Network

Outside the family, there is a community that offers a wider array of resources than the typical family can provide. Naturally, it makes sense to connect the family to this community to take advantage of the wealth of resources available around town. This type of information/resource sharing can be as simple as loaning a hammer to a neighbor, car-pooling with work associates, or helping a friend with his or her homework. All of these activities involve sharing, or trading, resources. This kind of network is represented by a two-way relationship, a give and take among equals or peers.

Restaurant Network:

The Client and the Server So, in any type of human network, there’s a lot of giving and taking. You’re already more accustomed to the client/server perspective in networking than you realize. For instance, when you go to dinner at a restaurant, you become a customer, or client, enjoying the food and drink prepared and served to you by the restaurant. On the other hand, the waiter works as a server, controlling and providing his customers with access to resources in the form of placing orders for and delivering food items. The server knows that requests will be made of him (access is sought when an order is placed) and that he will service those making the requests (access is granted when the order is delivered).

· In a dining situation, it is easy to know whether you are supposed to be serving or being served.