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Chapter: Computer Networks - Fundamentals & Link Layer

Building a computer network

What is network? What distinguishes a computer network from these other types of networks?

BUILDING A NETWORK

 

To build a computer network, that has the potential to grow to global proportions and to support applications as diverse as teleconferencing, video-on-demand, electronic commerce, distributed computing, and digital libraries.

 

What is network?

 

Network meant the set of serial lines used to attach dumb terminals to mainframe computers. To some, the term implies the voice telephone network. To others, the only interesting network is the cable network used to disseminate video signals.

 

The main thing these networks have in common is that they are specialized to handle one particular kind of data (keystrokes, voice, or video) and they typically connect to special-purpose devices (terminals, hand receivers, and television sets).

 

What distinguishes a computer network from these other types of networks?

Probably the most important characteristic of a computer network is its generality.

 

Computer networks are built primarily from general-purpose programmable hardware, and they are not optimized for a particular application like making phone calls or delivering television signals.

 

Instead, they are able to carry many different types of data, and they support a wide, and ever-growing, range of applications.

 

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