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A computer network is a group of interconnected computers that can accomplish many important tasks. To define computer networking you should define networks. A network is composed of two or people or objects, using a common language, and they have something to share. In computer networking the two or more objects are the computer or terminal. This can consist; have an IBM 3270 terminal and accompanying mainframe, to a stand-alone computer. The computer is usually an IBM PC personal computer or clone licensed copy of a PC, usually cheaply made. The common language or protocol is necessary for the communicators to be able to understand each other. We take for granted simple things like who talks first, how long they talk, and how to end a conversation. A protocol addresses these and more. The common protocol is Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP). TCP/IP is the protocol of the Internet. Internet is actually the short form of the word Internet work. Internet work means a network of networks. At one time, all of the different networks used different protocols. A user could talk to others on their network, but not to someone on a different network. The protocol TCP/IP solves this problem. It is what allows a person on one network to communicate with a person on a different network.

When I mentioned something to share in the network definition, it can be anything, an idea, document, or greeting. Networking allows use of applications on other computers, electronic mail (email), and real time discussions in chat rooms. The types of networks are classified as distributive or centralized. In a centralized network, processing occurs at one place and requests are made of the processing from terminals. A mainframe computer with attached terminals is a great example of centralized network. The terminals communicate with the mainframe to accomplish tasks. A distributive network spreads processing power to the individual computers. Networked PCs are a great example. Tasks are accomplished at the computer and at other computers using communication. In the definition of a network the computer hardware is considered part of the user in this definition. The hardware used to connect to other computers is considered part of the protocol.

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