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A computer network is a collection of computers interconnected by communication channels. In schools, this is known as LAN (Local Area Network). A WAN (Wide Area Network) is a network that is used by almost everyone, not just people that live close to you e.g. The internet.Networks are classified according to certain characteristics, such as the medium used to transport data.networks.jpgNetwork typesThere are many different types of network connection topologies and these topologies are used for a variety of different things.

Star networksStar networks is the most used form of a LAN; it is where each computer is connected to a central server through a network hub. The main disadvantage of this, is that if the server crashes, the network will shut down. Another disadvantage is that star networks is the most expensive network topology.

Bus networksA bus network topology is when all of the clients of the network are connected via a shared communication line. If the cable fails, then so does the network; another disadvantage is that the network tends to be slow due to the fact that all of the information has to travel along the one cable.
Ring networksA ring network topology is when each computer connects to two other computers, that sends a continuous path of signals around each computer to the other to form a ring. If a computer breaks down the path of signals will be interrupted and the network will fail. This topology is the cheapest to obtain.

Questions you might need answered:1.Why might a wireless network be far more efficient and flexible for a business than cabled network?
A wireless network will be more efficient because, cabled networks require holes to be drilled into walls and cables to be laid under special trunking (for protection). It is also more efficient as more people can connect to the wireless network, because they don't need to connect to a wire and send the data through a cramped space. However, one disadvantage of using a wireless network is that It is difficult to keep the network safe from invaders, as the wireless transmissions can be intercepted.
2.How can a business allow it's employees to access the organisation's intranet if they are working from remote locations?
A business can allow employees travelling to access the organisation's intranet by giving them a password that allows them to connect to the intranet. This is now called an extranet, though. A simple intranet consists of e-mail and a message board service, more sophisticated ones have websites and databases.
3.Why might a business set up it's own WAN?A business might set up it's own WAN because, the people that work for the business might be working away from the site and they might need to communicate with each other; they may need to share the same data that LAN users can. It will also allow people from different businesses to communicate. Businesses usually choose to use the Client/Server networks, which will give themselves a chance to keep each other up to date in information.4.Apart from availability of funds, what other questions will businesses ask themselves when deciding whether or not to set up their own network?Businesses will probably ask themselves if they can cope with the possibility that their network might be hacked into and their data stolen from their system. They would also ask themselves if they are willing to give in to the fact that they might get a computer virus from the internet, or do they have enough resources to create a firewall. Is our company big enough to set up a network? Is another example of a question they might ask themselves. Here are some more: Do we need to produce, or access information? What is our budget? Who will need to access our network?