A computer network or data network is a telecommunications network that allows computers to exchange data. In computer networks, networked computing devices pass data to each other along data connections. The connections (network links) between nodes are established using either cable media or wireless media. The best-known computer network is the Internet.
Network computer devices that originate, route and terminate the data are called network nodes. Nodes can include hosts such as personal computers, phones, servers as well as networking hardware. Two such devices are said to be networked together when one device is able to exchange information with the other device, whether or not they have a direct connection to each other.
Computer networks support applications such as access to the World Wide Web, shared use of application and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and instant messaging applications. Computer networks differ in the physical media used to transmit their signals, the communications protocols to organize network traffic, the network’s size, topology and organizational intent.
Today, computer networks are the core of modern communication. All modern aspects of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) are computer-controlled. Telephony increasingly runs over the Internet Protocol, although not necessarily the public Internet. The scope of communication has increased significantly in the past decade. This boom in communications would not have been possible without the progressively advancing computer network. Computer networks, and the technologies that make communication between networked computers possible, continue to drive computer hardware, software, and peripherals industries. The expansion of related industries is mirrored by growth in the numbers and types of people using networks, from the researcher to the home user.
Source From : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_network
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