Network: a network allows several computers to share hardware, software and data stored on any specific machine. Networks are divided into two main groups:

Local Area Networks (LANs): where all machines are physically connected to eachother. Typically, all the machines will be fairly close to eachother, but not necessarily in the same room or even building.

Wide Area Networks (WANs): where computers communicate with eachother via telephone lines or wireless transmission.

Advantages of Using a Network

There are many reasons why a business may choose to install a network, including:

  • Cost: a business does not need to buy expensive hardware for each individual machine. Also, site licenses for network versions of applications software may be cheaper than several individual licenses. More significantly, less office space is needed for peripherals when several machines can all share a printer.
  • Efficiency: instead of having to make multiple copies of documents, a single version can be made available to everyone over a network. When this file is updated, everyone has access to the new document at the same time.

With all technologies, there are risks. By adding a network, a company may experience:

  • Hacking: people might attempt to gain unauthorized access to sensitive material stored on the network .
  • Vulnerability to Virus Programs: an infected file shared across a network has the potential to infect a large number of machines very quickly.

Peer to Peer Networking

Many networks rely on one specific machine storing all data that is shared between the terminals connected to it (a file server). However, modern peer-to-peer technology allows data to be shared between individual machines with each of them acting as a server in its own right.


  1. List three reasons why a school might choose to use a network.
  2. Your cousin is thinking of adding a wireless network to his home in order to enable him to listen to his extensive music collection from any room in the house. Write a letter to him explaining that a network would allow him to do much more than this (give at least three examples) and also list some of the security issues he should be aware of if he chooses to do this.
  3. Describe five ways in which a network could help a secretary in a large company do their job more efficiently.
  4. Describe two problems that installing a network might cause. Discuss different ways to overcome those problems.
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