Computer Network | Definition, Advantages and Disadvantages

A computer network is defined as two or more computing devices linked together to communicate, share information (files and software programs), and other hardware resources (printers, hard disks, plotters). The action of connected computers sharing and exchanging resources is called networking.

what is computer network
Computer network

Most networks are constructed with a transmission cable connection that links the computers. This connection permits the computers to share (talk and listen) through a wire. More recently, several wireless solutions have become available: Infrared ports, Bluetooth, radio links, Wi-Fi satellite, and other protocols allow a variety of new devices to link with PCs.

Advantages of using Computer Network

Resource sharing: Sharing resources is an important area in which a network exceeds a stand-alone computer. Most institutions cannot afford enough laser printers, fax machines, modems, scanners, and CD-ROM players for each computer. However, if these peripherals are added to a network, they can be shared by all users in a node (computers are in a network is known as a node).

Centralized control and management: The entire computers in the network provide centralized control and management. The entire computers in the network are normally connected to a server, which defines the policy and security measures for the resources used by the network members.

Speedy and cost-effective communication: Since the entire computers are connected, the message can send from one computer to another within few seconds.

Backup and recovery: Dara is securely handled by the server and provides the backup mechanism in other devices with the use of the network. Similarly, the network is also used to recover data and systems in case of system crashes using backup or through the server.

Flexible access: The network allows people to easily access their files from any computer throughout the network.

Workgroup computing: Workgroup software (such as Microsoft Office) provides many clients to work on projects or documents at the same time. For example, expert located at various schools within a country could simultaneously contribute their ideas about new curriculum standards to the same document.

Disadvantages of using Computer Network

Expensive: For connecting computers, some extra devices and resources like NIC, Hub, cables are required, which increases the cost of operation.

Security problem: Data are shared in a public medium so extra precaution is needed for the increase of computer crimes like sending viruses, software piracy, hacking, plagiarism, pornography, spoofing.

Needs special technical knowledge: Skilled manpower is required to establish, maintain and operate a networking system.

Network Failure: Failure of the network may hamper the day-to-day operation of the organization. For example, network failure in a bank may affect the transaction.

Complex: The network itself is difficult to establish, manage and operate.

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