The Benefits of Computer Networks

Computer networks allow the sharing and central management of information, resources and applications across a variety of devices in a scalable and secure fashion. Computer networks are an integral part of modern society and offer numerous benefits, including improved communication and collaboration as well as reduced expenses, enhanced security and accessibility to data and resources.

Networks are made up of two primary elements, links and nodes. Nodes are devices connected to networks like printers, computers, and file servers. They communicate via a set of standard rules known as communication protocol. Links connect these nodes with each other using wired, optical or wireless connections. A laptop that is connected to a local network by using Wi-Fi is a “node” and is a link. The routers and switches function as traffic cops who direct data packets in the most efficient way to their destination.

A wide-area network (WAN) makes use of gateways and bridges to connect local area networks. Unlike a LAN it is connected to the Internet and other global communications networks. Students in Florida for instance can connect via teleconference from their workstations with classmates in Tokyo because of a WAN.

Computer networks can streamline work processes and encourage collaboration and participation in the workplace. Employees can save documents to a server which is regularly backed up, instead of sending documents back and forth and resulting in lost documents. Users can also access standard versions of user or employee manuals on the network, which guarantees consistency and accuracy.