What is Computer Networking?

What is Networking?

Computer networking Connected computing devices (such as laptops, desktops, servers, smartphones, and tablets) and IoT devices (such as cameras, door locks, doorbells, refrigerators, audio/visual systems, thermostats, and various sensors) that communicate with each other .

How Computer Network Works

Specialized equipment such as switches, routers and access points form the foundation of a computer network.

Switches connect and help secure computers, printers, servers and other devices to networks of homes or organizations internally. Access points are switches that connect devices to a network without cables.

Routers connect the network to other networks and act as dispatchers. They analyze the data to be sent over a network, choose the best route for it, and send it on its way. Routers connect your home and business to the world and help protect information from external security threats.

While switches and routers differ in many ways, an important difference is how they identify the end devices. A layer 2 switch uniquely identifies a device by its “burned-in” MAC address. A Layer 3 router uniquely identifies a device’s network connection with a network-assigned IP address.

Today, most switches include some level of routing functionality.

MAC and IP addresses uniquely define devices and network connections in a network, respectively. A MAC address is a number assigned to a network interface card (NIC) by a device’s manufacturer. An IP address is a number assigned to a network connection.

How is computer networking evolving?

Modern-day networks offer more than connectivity. Organizations are busy transforming themselves digitally. Their networks are critical to this transformation and their success. The types of network architectures that are being developed to meet these needs are as follows:

Software-defined (SDN): In response to new requirements in the “digital” era, network architecture is becoming more programmable, automated, and open. In a software-defined network, the routing of traffic is controlled centrally through software-based mechanisms. This helps the network to respond rapidly to changing conditions.
Intent-Based: Building on SDN principles, Intent-Based Networking (IBN) introduces not only agility, but comprehensively all forms of security, by automating operations, analyzing its performance, pinpointing problematic areas. Establishes a network to achieve desired objectives by providing, and integration with, business processes.

Virtualized: The underlying physical network infrastructure can be logically partitioned to form multiple “overlay” networks. Each of these logical networks can be tuned to meet specific security, quality of service (QoS), and other requirements.

Controller-based: Network controllers are critical to scaling and securing the network. Controllers automate networking tasks by translating business intent into device configuration, and they continuously monitor devices to help ensure performance and security. Controllers simplify operations and help organizations respond to changing business needs.

Multi-domain integration: Large enterprises can create separate networks, also known as networking domains, for their offices, WANs, and data centers. These networks communicate with each other through their controllers. Such cross-network, or multidomain, integration typically involves the exchange of relevant operating parameters to ensure that the desired business results that achieve the network domain.
Cisco only offers the full portfolio of modern network architectures for Access, WAN, Data Center and Cloud.

Types of Networking

While similar in their overall objectives, different types of networks serve different purposes. Today networks are categorized into broad categories below.

Local Area Network (LAN)

A LAN is a collection of connected devices in a physical location, such as a home or office. A LAN can be small or large, ranging from a single-user home network to a large enterprise network with thousands of users and devices. A LAN can include both wired and wireless devices.

Regardless of size, the distinguishing feature of a LAN is that it connects devices that are in a limited area.

Wide-Area Network (WAN)

A WAN is spread over a large geographic area and connects individual users or multiple LANs. Internet can be considered as WAN. Large organizations use WANs to connect their various sites, remote employees, suppliers and data centers so that they can run applications and access the data they need.

Physical connectivity in a WAN can be achieved through leased lines, cellular connections, satellite links and other means.

Enterprise Network

A network built for a large organization, commonly called an enterprise, needs to meet precise requirements. Since networking is critical for any modern enterprise to function, enterprise networks must be highly available, scalable, and robust. These networks contain tools that enable network engineers and operators to design, deploy, debug and fix them.

An enterprise can use both LAN and WAN at its premises, branches and data centers.

Service Provider Network

Service providers operate WANs to provide connectivity to individual users or organizations. They can offer enterprises simple connectivity in the form of leased lines, or more advanced, managed services. Service providers also provide internet and cellular connectivity to their customers.