3.1 Basic Concepts of Computer Networks and Communications

3.1.1.1Define computer networks.


Computer network is a system of interconnected computers and peripheral devices. For example, it may connect computers, printers, scanners and cameras.

Using hardware and software, these interconnected computing devices can communicate with each other through defined rules of data communications. In a network, computers can exchange and share information and resources. A computer network may operate on wired connections or wireless connections.

When two or more networks are linked or connected and are able to communicate with one another using suitable hardware and software, it is called an internetwork.

3.1.1.2 Define communications.

COMMUNICATIONS

Communications is about the transfer of information from a sender, across a distance, to a receiver. Using electricity, radio waves or light, information and data in the form of codes are transmitted through a physical medium such as wire, cable, or even the atmosphere.

The information that is transmitted (sent) can be text, voice, sound, video, graphics and images, or a combination of all these, which we call multimedia. We transmit information or data by using two types of signals, namely analog and digital.

3.1.2.1 State the importance of computer networks and communications.

Information is now made easy with the availability of network communications. In a clinic for example, network communications plays an important part in keeping patients’ database for easy retrieval. Unlike in conventional practice, doctors and nurses have to look for a patient’s personal file from hundreds or maybe thousands of records. With network communication, the clinic saves time and manpower. Allocation can be effectively planned.

E-Business

E-business refers to conducting business transactions on the internet, not only limited to buying and selling but also servicing customers and collaborating with business partners.

E-business supports many types of business transactions, including online shopping, selling and renting. Users can browse the website and choose from the list of items or services to buy. Payment is usually via credit card.

Online Education

With a network connections, online education is made possible. Students at any location around the world can participate in an online classroom, download tutorial questions and submit their assignments.

E-Banking

E-banking handles all types of banking transactions like account management, fund transfer and payments primarily over the internet. User can pay bills, check the account balance and transfer money to other parties, using e-banking facilities twenty four hours a day and seven days a week.

With e-banking, most of the transactions can be done at home or from the office, thus users save time on traveling and queuing at the bank counters.

Long Distance Communication

Long distance communication is made easy via network availability. Communication is possible via voice, text or video. The cost of having this type of communication is cheaper than making a normal phone call and definitely faster and more effective than corresponding via letters of fax.

In business, important decisions can effectively made through video conference meeting.

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