The Best Cheap Computer
Networking for your
Home and Office

- Part 1 -

All about Computer Networking

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Computer networking results when two or more computers (or devices) are connected for the purpose of sharing data (files), printers, internet connection, etc. These computers can be in close proximity or be as much as thousands of miles away.

Devices that connect together in computer networking are called 'nodes'.

Each node is assigned its own 'MAC address' or Media Access Control number which differentiates each node in the network.

This MAC address allows Web sites to identify your computer when you are viewing web pages.

Click here to view a variety of wired and wireless routers.

PCs are connected together using network interface cards . These can either be wired or wireless. The connecting port on the wired interface can sometimes be mistaken for a regular telephone jack but is slightly larger. Connections are made using a special cable known as 'Cat5' cable or wireless radio signal.

Networks connect at various speeds and there are about three different speeds associated with home computer networking. Firstly, there is 10Mbps (megabits per second), next 100Mbps and most recent, 1Gbps (gibabit per second).

Computers now are fitted with 10/100/1000Mbps adapters which enable them to connect to 10Mbps, 100Mbps or 1Gbps networks.

In computer networking the different nodes can be directly interconnected but they are normally connected through the use of a "hub" or "switch". A switch is preferred since it enables greater control of the information that passes through it.

On larger networks, devices called routers are used. These devices minimize or eliminate transmission errors and exhibit better control of data flow through the network.

Types of Networks

Basically, there are two main classes of networks - Client/Server and Peer-to-Peer (P2P). Earlier networks were client/server but peer-to-peer has gained popularity.

Client/Server Network
In a client/server network, the client computer requests information from the server computer which stores the data on the network. The server PC is always ready to dispense requested data from the client computers on the network.

The greatest example of a client/server network is illustrated when we are surfing the Internet. Your PC is then referred to as the client PC when you request a Web site from a server PC on the Internet. The server PC directs the Web site's contents to your web browser for viewing.

Peer-to-Peer Network
Peer-to-peer computer networking does not require separate client and server PCs. Each node in a peer-to-peer network can function as client or server.

These are special networks that operate with the assistance of another network such as the Internet. It is highly used for file sharing of audio and video files.

Computer Networking - Development of Ethernet

Ethernet was developed by Xerox with some assistance from Intel and a company called DEC in 1976. Ethernet was the IEEE 802.3 standard for networking and was the standard for LANs (local area network). Oftentimes, your computer's network adapter is referred to as the ethernet adapter or ethernet card.

In its introduction in the 1980s, it promised speeds of up to 10Mbps. Next was the 100BaseT or FastEthernet suggesting speeds of up to 100Mbps. Presently, we have the Gigabit Ethernet which allows speeds of up 1,000Mbps.

Somewhere in the future, there is mention of the 10 Gigabit Ethernet!

Types of Networking

There are different types of Networking such as:

  • Phone Line which uses your existing house phone line circuit.

  • Power Line which uses your existing electrical house wiring.

  • Ethernet Networking which uses Cat5 cable.

  • Wireless computer networking means 'no wires' since all the computers in the network broadcast their information to one another using radio signals.

You can have a combination of wireless and wired Computer Networking

If your home or office is already using wired networking, you can add a cheap wireless router or access point to obtain wireless networking in other areas.

Wireless Networking

Wireless-G is presently being used. This wireless networking standard has a theoretical speed of 54Mbps that's almost five times as fast as the obsolete Wireless-B (802.11b) standard found in homes, businesses and public wireless hotspots around the country. But, since they share the same 2.4GHz radio band, Wireless-G devices can also interoperate with existing 11Mbps Wireless-B equipment.

A new standard Wireless N (802.11n) networking is now being used because of its wider coverage compared to the 802.11B.

After the wireless N (802.11n) network, came the (802.11ac) networking standard. Wireless ac provided a theoretical speed of approximately 1300Mbps which was approximately three times faster than wireless N which had an approximate speed of 450Mbps.

Most modern routers fall within the ac standard and exhibit extreme speeds and data transmission.

Browse here for wireless networking devices.

Click here to read "Computer Networking - Part 2 -
How Computer Networking Works"

Click here if you would like to learn to build your own cheap computer using cheap computer parts

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