Understanding and Building Basic Networks Chapter 5 Planning a Network
In this chapter, you will answer these questions: • Can we share files, printers, even an Internet connection using a network? • What else can we do over a network? • What kind of a network do I need? • What hardware is necessary to create a network? • Do I need special software?
Can we share files using a network? • You can use a network to share a variety of files with other people. You can share documents you create, sound files stored on your hard drive, pictures you create in a graphics program. You can also share certain programs so that you only need to keep one copy of the software on the server.
Can we share printers using a network? • In addition to sharing files and programs online, you can also share resources such as printers and scanners. Before networks, each computer had to be connected to its own printer. Now, you can connect a printer to the network and all the other computers on the network can print documents using that single printer.
Network Printers • The following site has step-by-step guidelines for adding a network printer. • http://www.ntu.edu.sg/CITS/Getting+Help/Get+Me+Connected/Adding+Network+Printers.htm
Can we share an Internet connection using a network? • With the popularity and importance of the Internet, it is important that all computers on a network have Internet access. This is possible by setting up an Internet connection for the network, with all computers accessing the Internet through the local network. • There are two basic methods for connecting a network to the Internet: using a router or a modem.
A router is a piece of equipment that connects networks and directs, or routes, information to computers on the network. The router offers a connection between the network and the Internet. What is a Router?
A modem is a piece of equipment that connects a computer to the Internet via a phone line. When used with a network, the network connects to the modem, and then the modem dials up the server at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and makes the connection. What is a modem?
Popular uses of networks include: • File sharing • Sharing equipment, such as printers, fax machines, and scanners • Connecting to the Internet • Playing games
What else can we do over a network? • Many of the same things you can do on the Internet you can do over a private network. For example, you can set up email between computers on the network and you can play games between computers on a network. • Getting a network setup and running requires some planning, then knowledge of hardware, software, cables, and more.
What kind of a network do I need? • How many computers will you need to connect? • If you have less than ten computers, can you use a peer-to-peer network or do you need a server to establish a client/server network? • How do you plan to transfer the information between resources on the network? • How will you lay out the network?
Network Topology • The structure, also known as the network topology, is how the network is laid out and is usually dependent on the network architecture. This includes how the computers and the resources are placed physically and it also includes how the information is transferred between those computers. • There are four main types of network structures: • Star Bus • Bus • Ring • Hybrid
In a star bus topology, each computer connects to a central point on the network. A bus network is one in which all the computers connect along a continuous cable, known as a backbone. Star Bus and Bus Networks
A ring network features a single length of cable running between computers, which are configured in a ring. Hybrid mesh networks combine at least two different types of topologies. Ring and Hybrid Mesh Networks
What hardware is necessary to create a network? • Hardware is the physical equipment that makes up your network, such as the computers, monitors, printers, and connection devices. • Once you have examined your needs and know the type of network you want to install, you are ready to consider the type of hardware you need.
A server is a powerful computer that fills a specific function on the network. You might have a dedicated server to store files, to hold web pages, to handle email, and to backup your files. Network Server
A network interface card (NIC) is installed inside each computer and connects the computer to the network cable. A hub is the central connecting device to which all cables on the network connect. Network Connection Devices
Do I need special software? • A network operating system (NOS) is the software that controls, organizes, and manages all activities on the network. The type of software you need depends on whether you have a peer-to-peer network or a client/server network.
What You've Learned About Planning a Network • In this lesson, you began planning your own network. Before you can actually start putting everything together physically, you have to understand what it is you need to accomplish, the tasks you want the network to perform, and then to develop a plan for how you want to structure your network.