Defining a Network
In the simplest terms, a network is a group of two or more computers interconnected by cable or some other media, enabling them to share information and resources. Networks make it more efficient to share information and resources than stand-alone computers. As businesses grow, the need to share information and use common applications increases. With a network, a large number of people can simultaneously work on different parts of the same database, share information and resources and communicate across the network. A network serves to integrate the business operation and improve efficiency and productivity.
Sharing files is the largest shared resource on a network. Everyone in the company can work from the same consolidated database application, fully integrating all facets of the business operation while greatly reducing manual data transfer by each individual department and reducing the possibilities of human errors and miscommunication.
Sharing common printers is the second largest shared resource. For example, say that you wanted everyone to print company correspondence on a high quality laser printer. Without a network, you would have to purchase one of these printers for every computer. With a network, all computers can share a single printer. For a small office, the cost of networking the computers together is probably LESS than the cost of one additional printer. Other shared resources on a network can include scanners, fax machines, modems and copiers.
Networks enable us to share information throughout the company, between other companies, and all over the world.