What Is Networking & Networking Basics: Everything You Need to Know

What Is Networking & Networking Basics: Everything You Need to Know
What Is Networking & Networking Basics: Everything You Need to Know

What Is Networking?

Networking refers to the practice of connecting computers, devices, or systems together to facilitate communication, data sharing, and resource sharing. It involves the design, implementation, management, and maintenance of various types of networks.

Networking enables devices to exchange information and collaborate effectively, whether within a small local network or across vast geographical distances. It plays a crucial role in enabling communication, data transfer, and resource sharing between computers, servers, routers, switches, and other network-enabled devices.

Networking involves several key components and concepts:

Networking Devices

These include routers, switches, hubs, modems, network adapters, and other hardware that facilitate the transmission of data between devices.

 Networking Protocols

Networking protocols are a set of rules and standards that govern how data is transmitted, received, and processed within a network. Examples include TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) for internet communication, Ethernet for wired local networks, and Wi-Fi for wireless networks.

IP Addressing

IP (Internet Protocol) addressing is a fundamental aspect of networking that assigns unique numerical identifiers to devices connected to a network. IP addresses allow devices to send and receive data packets across the network.

Network Topologies

Network topologies define the physical or logical arrangement of devices and their connections within a network. Common topologies include star, bus, ring, and mesh.

Network Security

Networking involves implementing security measures to protect data and network resources from unauthorized access, intrusions, and cyber threats. This includes using firewalls, encryption, authentication, and access control mechanisms.

Network Administration

Network administration involves managing and maintaining networks, including tasks such as configuring devices, troubleshooting connectivity issues, monitoring network performance, and ensuring overall network reliability and security.

What are the 4 types of networks?

Local Area Network (LAN): A LAN is a network that covers a small geographical area such as a home, office building, or campus. It connects computers, servers, printers, and other devices within a limited area. LANs typically use Ethernet cables or Wi-Fi for communication.

Wide Area Network (WAN): A WAN is a network that spans a large geographic area, often connecting multiple LANs together. It utilizes various technologies such as leased lines, satellites, or Internet connections to enable communication between geographically separated locations. The Internet itself is considered a global example of a WAN.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): A MAN is a network that covers a larger area than a LAN but smaller than a WAN. It typically encompasses a city or a metropolitan region. MANs are often used to connect multiple LANs together and provide high-speed communication for organizations within a specific geographic area.

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN): A WLAN, also known as Wi-Fi, is a type of network that allows devices to connect and communicate wirelessly using radio waves. WLANs are typically implemented within a limited area, such as a home, office, or public space, providing wireless access to the internet or other networks.

What are the basics of networking?

Network Components: Familiarize yourself with essential network devices such as routers, switches, hubs, modems, network adapters, and cables. Understand their roles in facilitating communication and data transfer between devices.

Protocols: Learn about networking protocols like TCP/IP, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and DNS (Domain Name System). Protocols define the rules and standards for data transmission, addressing, and routing within a network.

IP Addressing: Understand the concept of IP addressing, which assigns unique numerical identifiers to devices on a network. Differentiate between IPv4 and IPv6 addressing schemes, and grasp the basics of subnetting and subnet masks.

Network Topologies: Explore different network topologies, such as star, bus, ring, and mesh. Comprehend how devices are connected within these topologies and how data flows between them.

Network Layers: Learn about the layered architecture of networks. The OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model and the TCP/IP model are common frameworks that break down network functionality into distinct layers, such as physical, data link, network, transport, and application layers.

Network Address Translation (NAT): Understand the concept of NAT, which allows multiple devices in a private network to share a single public IP address for internet access.

Network Security: Get acquainted with network security concepts, including firewalls, encryption, authentication, and access control mechanisms. Understand the importance of securing networks against unauthorized access and cyber threats.

Troubleshooting: Develop basic troubleshooting skills to identify and resolve common network issues. Learn how to diagnose connectivity problems, check device configurations, and use network diagnostic tools.

Network Types: Explore various types of networks, such as LAN, WAN, MAN, and WLAN. Understand their characteristics, scope, and typical use cases.

Network Administration: Gain knowledge of network administration tasks, including device configuration, network monitoring, performance optimization, and user management.

SEE ALSO: What Is Power over Ethernet (PoE)?| Everything You Need To Know

The foundations of networking: switches, routers, and wireless access points

Networking Basics which include Switches, routers, and wireless access points are fundamental components of a network infrastructure, enabling devices connected to your network to communicate with each other and with other networks. Although they are all critical for network operations, switches, routers, and wireless access points perform distinct functions in a network.

Switches

The basic building block of most business networks is a switch. A switch serves as a hub, linking computers, printers, and servers in a building or campus to a network. By enabling devices on your network to interact with each other and with other networks, switches establish a shared resource network, resulting in cost savings and increased efficiency.

Two fundamental switch types are available for inclusion in your networking basics: on-premises and cloud-managed.

  • A managed on-premises switch enables you to configure and monitor your LAN, giving you greater control over your network traffic.
  • If you have a small IT team, a cloud-managed switch can simplify your network management. With a simple user interface, multisite full-stack management, and automatic updates delivered directly to the switch, it can make managing your network easier.

Routers

Switches, routers, and wireless access points are the essential networking basics. Through them, devices connected to your network can communicate with one another and with other networks, like the Internet. These devices perform different functions in a network.

Switches are the foundation of most business networks. They act as controllers, connecting computers, printers, and servers to a network in a building or a campus. Switches allow devices on your network to communicate with each other, as well as with other networks, creating a network of shared resources. Through information sharing and resource allocation, switches save money and increase productivity.

There are two basic types of switches to choose from as part of your networking basics: on-premises and cloud-managed. A managed on-premises switch lets you configure and monitor your LAN, giving you tighter control of your network traffic. If you have a small IT team, a cloud-managed switch can simplify your network management. You get a simple user interface, multisite full-stack management, and automatic updates delivered directly to the switch.

Routers connect multiple networks together and enable all networked computers to share a single Internet connection, which saves money. They act as dispatchers, analyzing data being sent across a network, choosing the best route for data to travel, and sending it on its way. Routers connect your business to the world, protect information from security threats, and can even decide which computers receive priority over others. Beyond those basic networking functions, routers come with additional features to make networking easier or more secure, such as a firewall, a virtual private network (VPN), or an Internet Protocol (IP) communications system.

Wireless access points act like amplifiers for your network, extending the network’s bandwidth so that it can support many devices, and those devices can access the network from farther away. In addition to extending Wi-Fi, access points can provide useful data about the devices on the network, offer proactive security, and serve other practical purposes. Access points support different IEEE standards, each with varying frequencies, bandwidth, and numbers of channels.

Wireless Networking Basics

If you want to set up a wireless network, you have three deployment options: centralized, converged, and cloud-based. To determine which one is best for your business, it’s a good idea to consult an expert. Here’s an overview of each deployment type:

Centralized deployment: This is the most common type of wireless network system and is ideal for campuses with buildings and networks that are close to each other. This deployment consolidates the wireless network, making upgrades easier and enabling advanced wireless functionality. Controllers are located on-premises and installed in a centralized location.

Converged deployment: Converged deployments are perfect for small campuses or branch offices that require consistency in both wired and wireless connections. This deployment combines wired and wireless connections on a single network device, such as an access switch, that performs the dual role of switch and wireless controller.

Cloud-based deployment: This type of system uses the cloud to manage network devices located on-premises at different locations. This solution requires Cisco Meraki cloud-managed devices, which provide full network visibility through their dashboards.

Wireless Networking Basics

When creating a wireless network, you have the option to choose from three different deployment types: centralized, converged, and cloud-based. If you need assistance in determining which deployment is most suitable for your business, consider consulting an expert in the field.

  1. Centralized Deployment The most commonly used wireless network system, centralized deployments are ideal for campuses where buildings and networks are located in close proximity. This type of deployment consolidates the wireless network, making upgrades easier and enabling advanced wireless functionality. Controllers are installed on-premises in a centralized location.
  2. Converged Deployment Converged deployments are ideal for small campuses or branch offices and provide consistency in both wired and wireless connections. This deployment type converges wired and wireless on a single network device, an access switch, which performs the dual role of both switch and wireless controller.
  3. Cloud-Based Deployment This deployment type uses the cloud to manage network devices that are deployed on-premises at various locations. The solution requires Cisco Meraki cloud-managed devices, which provide complete network visibility through their dashboards.
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