The logic of networking is that since the capability of one entity is limited, combining more than one entity would result in increased capability. In the computing world too, networking was devised to harness the capabilities of the computers so that more may benefit. In fact, the first computer network had been established as soon as practicable and functional computers made their debut in the university campus. The need to communicate, to exchange data and other information, and the need to collaborate even though situated far away, was overwhelming, and networking as a solution to bring them about became a viable option.
A network is a system or infrastructure for communication between computers. Networking technology may be of various types. There may be fixed and cabled internet providing continuous internet access. There may be dialup connectios that provide temporary connections using other network infrastructure. The network may also be established through use of wireless technology. In physical size, the network may include just a few computers (Local Area Network, LAN) or more computers spread over a large area (Metropolitan Area Network, MAN). In case the network is between computers spread over geographically large distances, the network is called a Wide Area Network (WAN). When the logic of network is taken to its maxima at the global level, we get the Internet that is a publicly accessible network of computers and servers situated across the globe.
Networks may be private, where usage and access is restricted to the members. It may be public where all may access network resources, like in a public library. Through a mechanism called the Virtual Private Network (VPN), access to a private network may be achieved through public networking infrastructure. Networking may be peer-to-peer, in which there is no hierarchical organization between the computers; or it may be client-server, in which case the computers are organized in a hierarchical structure. During the pre-desktop days, one had the ‘dumb terminals’ and the mainframe at different ends of the network, the dumb terminals being mere input-output devices. There are many problems attached to networking, like loss and invasion of privacy, security concerns, unbridled centralization, etc. However, the benefits of networking are many and solutions have been devised to keep the pitfalls to the minimum.
In this section of the directory, we provide links to various networking resources, from networking solutions to networking firms, guides and hardware, etc.