1. Technology

Networking Basics - Key Concepts in Computer Networking

Start learning about computer networking basics by exploring this guide to the important concepts and technologies. The A-Z terms and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) lists span many essential topics, while other sections of this guide each focus on one core area of networks.
  1. Network Troubleshooting
  2. Home Networking
  3. Broadband / Internet
  4. A-Z Networking Terms (290)
  5. Basic Networking FAQs (9)
  6. Basic Computer Architecture (9)

What is (Computer) Networking?
Networking is the practice of linking computing devices together with hardware and software that supports data communications across these devices.

How Computer Networks Work - Devices
This installment of our series on How Computer Networks Work examines the hardware devices that connect to a network and communicate with each other.

How Computer Networks Work - Interconnects
This installment of our series on How Computer Networks Work examines the physical interconnects that glue devices together.

How Computer Networks Work - Protocols
Protocols like TCP/IP are the "languages" that computers, phones and other device use to communicate with each other over network connections.

Visual Index of Computer Networking Topics
See the concepts of computer networking presented in a sequence of visual illustrations designed to teach networking basics by example.

Networking Basics Q&A Quiz
The quiz presents a series of questions and answers designed to expand your knowledge of basic computer networking. Even if you get a question wrong, or need to guess, the explanations provided with answer will teach you what you need to know.

Network File Sharing 101
Computer networks allow you to share files with friends, family, coworkers and customers. Learn about the different methods for file sharing including Windows, FTP, P2P and Web based.

Common Misconceptions About Computer Networks
Certain facts about networking tend to be misunderstood. This article describes some of the most common misconceptions about computer networks.

Notable Events in The History of Computer Networks
The field of computer networking has been shaped by some key events and technological developments over many decades. How many of these did you experience first hand?

How Big Is Your Network?
Do you run a simple home network with just a few PCs, manage a business network with thousands of clients, or operate a Wi-Fi hotspot? Here our readers share descriptions of the size of their networks and what kinds of devices they are made of.

Operating Systems and Computer Networks
Computers use low-level software called an operating system to help people build and run their own programs. Operating system software runs not just on laptop computers but also on cell phones, network routers and other gadgets. An O/S normally provides basic networking support for Ethernet, Wi-Fi and sometimes Bluetooth and other wireless protocols.

Connecting Two Computers
The simplest kind of home network contains exactly two computers. You can use this kind of network to share files, a printer or another peripheral device, and even an Internet connection. To connect two computers for sharing network resources, consider these alternatives.

Introduction to Area Networks and Network Types
LAN and WAN are two common types of networks but many others exist.

Basic Network Topologies
One way to classify computer networks is by their topology. Common network topologies include the bus, star, and ring.

Causes of Lag on Computer Networks and Online
The flow of data through a network can slow down for many reasons. This delay is commonly called lag.

Free Computer Networking Books
Numerous published books are available for free download on the Internet. However, not very many quality, free titles are available on basic computer networking topics.

Network Routers
A router is a small hardware device that joins multiple networks together. These networks can include wired or wireless home networks, and the Internet.

What Is a Server?
In computer networking, a server is a computer designed to process requests and deliver data to other computers over a local network or the Internet. Common types of network servers include Web, proxy and FTP servers.

TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol
TCP/IP provides connection-oriented communication between network devices. TCP/IP is very commonly used both on the Internet and in home computer networks.

What Is a Network Protocol?
Protocols serve as a language of communication among network devices. Network protocols like HTTP, TCP/IP, and SMTP provide a foundation that much of the Internet is built on. Find out more about these protocols and how they work.

A network firewall guards a computer against unauthorized network access. Firewalls are one of the essential elements of a safe home or business network.

Networking Basics: Ethernet
Ethernet is a physical and data link layer technology for local area networks (LANs). Ethernet is reliable and inexpensive, the leading standard worldwide for building wired LANs.

Network Addresses
Network addresses give computers unique identities they can use to communicate with each other. Specifically, IP addresses and MAC addresses are used on most home and business networks.

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