The word ‘Network’ refers to an interconnected system. The network of roads within a country connects different cities of the country. The network of telephones connects telephone system of the country. Many telephones are connected with each other by means of telephone wires in the telephone network. In the same way, we can connect two or more computers of the same place or different places. To connect computers of near by places we use cable other wireless media. Computers of far places can be connected through some media such as telephones lines, radio wave, communication satellite, etc. Such an interconnection of computers is known as Computer Network.

Computer Network refers to the group of computers which are interconnected to each other by means of transmission media like cables or without cables. A computer network may have one or more server computers and client computers. The server computer on the network acts as the storehouse and distributor for the data, information and programs. The server computer also provides facilities of sharing hardware to the computers on the network. A server computer uses network operating software like Window NT Server, Novel Netware Server, UNIX, LINUX etc. The other computers on the networks are workstations. The workstation is also known as Client computers. The workstations use the resources provided by the server computer.

When computers are on the network they can transfer data, information and programs among themselves. Computer network made it possible to book an airplane ticket, reserve the room in hotel, purchase goods and much more. Offices, Organizations, Companies, Universities etc. Keep their computers on the network for the following reasons.
a. To share computer hardware like printer, scanner etc.
b. To share data, information and programs.
c. To send or receive message i.e. to communicate with each other.

The main purpose of computer network in for data communicate but one can benefit the following advantages from the computer network.

a. Data and information sharing
The main advantage of computer network is sharing data and information. While working in a computer you may need to share data and information with other person. If you are using a stand-alone computer, you have to copy data and information on a portable storage device or take hardcopy output and send it to the required person. This process needs some portable storage devices, papers, a printer and one additional person to carry the potable storage devices or printouts. In a network environment, data and information stored on computers can be shared with each other. You don’t need portable storage devices, papers, printers and additional person to carry portable storage devices or printouts.

b. Hardware Sharing
Computers on a network can their hardware resources. Network is impractical for each computer of an office, or an organization to have computer hardware like laser printer, scanner, fax machine, etc. A printer connected with one of the computers on the network can be used by any other computers on the network. Similarly other resources which can be shared on a network are scanners, hard disk, modem, CD-drives and fax machine.

c. Software Sharing
In a network environment, software resources can be shared effectively among the computer on the network. In stand-along environment, the software to be used must be present on each computer. It is time consuming to install and configure the software individually on each computer. In a network environment, the software can be centrally installed and configured on a server and be used on other computers on the network. A computer on the network can legally share the copies of software with other computers on the network.

d. Communication facilities
Network users can send or receive instant message to each other at vary fast speed.

e. Security
Only an authorized user can access the resources of network. Normally, there are at least two servers (Primary Domain and Secondary Domain) on a network. These server computers centrally stored data, information, files and software. By mistakes or accidentally if data and files are deleted then they can be recovered easily from one of them.

f. Cost Factor
The sharing of hardware and software reduce economic burden. Messages can be sent and received at economic price.


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