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An introduction to networking


The role of switches, routers and firewalls in a network


An e-learning platform purpose-built for networking


An effective approach to learning computer networking


Techniques to master subnetting


Subnet Masks Table


A Glossary of Networking Terms

An introduction to networking

A computer network (also referred to as a "data network" or simply a "network") consists of a set of devices connected together in order to exchange data between themselves. These devices create a network using their respective network interfaces. Some devices may use a single network interface; others may connect via multiple interfaces.

The type of interface(s) a device uses to connect to a network depends on the physical medium. A wireless interface connects to a network over the air using a standard such as IEEE 802.11 (known colloquially as WiFi). Various types of wired mediums are in use today, the most common of which follows the IEEE 802.3 standard (Ethernet). Most devices with a wired network interface will have at least one Ethernet interface.

A device connected to a computer network is typically called a node. Based on the function of a node within the network, we can classify it as one of 2 types of devices:

  • Hosts are devices that either store data to serve to other hosts or request data from other hosts when necessary—for example, a laptop or a web server.