Computer Networks

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To understand a network one should know what really makes up a network.
We will try to brief you as much as possible on how to establish a network , what is necessary and what's not .

We'll make you familiar with the basic connectivity components, such as cables and communication tools, which are used to build networks.

 3 Types of Cables Exists:
-Twisted Pair : UTP (Most Popular) & STP (Shielded to Avoid Interference)
-Coaxial : 10Base2 (ThinNet) & 10Base5 (ThickNet)
-Fiber Optic.

 

Network Adapters: Corresponding Cables Maximum Cable Length  Speed Range
Wireless Network Cards Wireless 300 Meters WIFI 11/22-54MB/s - 108MB/s -125MB/s &300MB/s
Fiber-Optic Special Cards Fiber-Optic 2 Km 100Mbs Or More
10BaseT / 100BaseT / 1000BaseT UTP Cable (8 Wires) 100 Meters 10 Mbps Up to 1Gbps
10Base2 Coaxial Cable ThinNet 185 Meters 10 Mbps
10Base5 Coaxial Cable ThickNet 500 Meters 10 Mbps

Note that the maximum cable length is the cable length that the signal can travel without suffering from attenuation (degradation). Several types of devices can be used in order to boost the signal and thus increase the cable length i.e.. Repeaters, Hubs, Bridges, Switches, Routers and Gateways. 
 
Types Of Connections :

Point to Point Connection (Between 2 Computers ):

 a- Coaxial Cable can be used with terminators at the end of each side of the cable.

 b- UTP Cable can be used with a Crossed Wire (Crossover) configuration, no the need to use a Hub. 
 A UTP cable is composed of  8 wires, 4 of them carry the signal and the remaining four are Grounded.
 Crossover Configuration Connects the Transmit wires to the Receive wires on the other side .

BETWEEN TWO COMPUTERS
Point To Point Connection

UTP CROSSED WIRES CONFIGURATION
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Multipoint Connection (Between Several Computers ):

a- Coaxial Cable can be used on small scale networks by using T-Connectors at each computer and Terminators at each end of the cable .

 b- With UTP Cable a  Hub is needed , Hubs comes with several numbers of ports and the UTP cables should not be Cross-Wired (Straight-Through). Hubs Usually act both as a signal booster and as signal links between the connected computers.

UTP NORMAL CABLE CONFIGURATION

COAXIAL CABLE
Coaxial Cable With Terminators
UTP CABLE
Hub Using UTP Cables

Network Cards : 
The Two Most Popular interfaces are : USB and PCI , the difference between the two is that each one fits in a specific slot on the mainboard of the computer .
Both Network Cards are Plug-and-play enhanced which facilitates installation .

 Protocols :
A set of rules or standards that enables communication between computers on a network.
TCP/IP is the one used to connect to the internet .

 Advantages :
a- Information Sharing : One can share practically everything from information (HDD, FDD, Cd-Rom, DVD)  to printers and even a Modem , without forgetting the ability to play Network Games and the increasing popularity they met lately.

b- Centralized Administration : Especially applicable in large scale networks where a Server (Computers that provide services and data to other computers requesting it) is must and an administrator can manage all the information available on that server .
Servers can be specialized and dedicated for a single task  i.e.. File and Print Server, Mail Server, Database Server, Domain Name Server (DNS) ...

Basically this is what the internet is all about, Servers and Routers ( Helps in Guiding the data from the Client Computer  requesting it to its destination = Server ).

 Direct Application :
As far as end user is concerned , one can share data / play games with a friend living in the same building or a couple of blocks away.
Note that the connection can be Wireless also , data transfer speeds may range up to 11MB/s in a wireless network.
One can even share also the Hole Desktop and Computer Resources if using the appropriate software like PC Anywhere .
Sharing a single connection to the internet is becoming more popular especially with a lot of people having two or more computers at home.

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