computer network

A computer network is a system in which multiple computers are connected to each other to share information and resources.

The physical connection between networked computing devices is established using either cable media or wireless media.

Advantages of Computer Networks: 
File sharing 
The major advantage of a computer network is that is allows file sharing and remote file access. A person sitting at one workstation that is connected to a network can easily see files present on another workstation, provided he is authorized to do so.
Resource sharing 
All computers in the network can share resources such as printers, fax machines, modems, and scanners.
Better connectivity and communications 
It allows users to connect and communicate with each other easily. Various communication applications included e-mail and groupware are used. Through e-mail, members of a network can send message and ensure safe delivery of data to other members, even in their absence.
Internet access 
Computer networks provide internet service over the entire network. Every single computer attached to the network can experience the high speed internet.
Many games and other means of entertainment are easily available on the internet. Furthermore, Local Area Networks (LANs) offers and facilitates other ways of enjoyments, such as many players are connected through LAN and play a particular game with each other from remote location.
Inexpensive system 
Shared resources mean reduction in hardware costs. Shared files mean reduction in memory requirement, which indirectly means reduction in file storage expenses. A particular software can be installed only once on the server and made available across all connected computers at once. This saves the expense of buying and installing the same software as many times for as many users.
Flexible access 
A user can log on to a computer anywhere on the network and access his files. This offers flexibility to the user as to where he should be during the course of his routine.
Instant and multiple access 
Computer networks are multiply processed many of users can access the same information at the same time. Immediate commands such as printing commands can be made with the help of computer networks.

Disadvantages of Computer Networks: 
Lack of data security and privacy 
Because there would be a huge number of people who would be using a computer network to get and share some of their files and resources, a certain user’s security would be always at risk. There might even be illegal activities that would occur, which you need to be careful about and aware of.
Presence of computer viruses and malwares 
If even one computer on a network gets affected by a virus, there is a possible threat for the other systems getting affected too. Viruses can spread on a network easily, because of the interconnectivity of workstations. Moreover, multiple systems with common resources are the perfect breeding ground for viruses that multiply.
Lack of Independence 
Since most networks have a centralized server and dependent clients, the client users lack any freedom whatsoever. Centralized decision making can sometimes hinder how a client user wants to use his own computer.
Lack of Robustness 
As previously stated, if a computer network’s main server breaks down, the entire system would become useless. Also, if it has a bridging device or a central linking server that fails, the entire network would also come to a standstill.
Need an efficient handler 
For a computer network to work efficiently and optimally, it requires high technical skills and know-how of its operations and administration. A person just having basic skills cannot do this job. Take note that the responsibility to handle such a system is high, as allotting permissions and passwords can be daunting. Similarly, network configuration and connection is very tedious and cannot be done by an average technician who does not have advanced knowledge.

Use(Applications) of Computer Networks: 
Financial services 
Nowadays, almost all the financial services depend on the computer network. You can access the financial services across the world. For example, a user can transfer money from one place to another by using the electronic fund transfer feature. You can use networking in various financial areas such as ATM, foreign exchange and credit history search.
Nowadays, most of the works of businesses are done over the computers. To exchange the data and ideas, you need an effective data and resources sharing features. To do this, you need to connect the computer with each other through a network. For example, a person of one department of an organization can share or access the electronic data of other department through network.
Email services 
A computer network provides you the facility to send or receive mails across the globe in few seconds.
Mobile applications 
By using the mobile applications, such as cellular or wireless phones, you can communicate (exchange your views and ideas) with one other.
Directory services 
It provides you the facility to store files on a centralized location to increase the speed of search operation worldwide.
Teleconferencing It contains voice conferencing and video conferencing which are based in networking. In teleconferencing the participants need not to be presented at the same location.

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