Computer networks


A computer network is an essential element to ensure communication between two or more computers, which allows the exchange of data between them . Not only companies can benefit from the potentialities of computer networks . At a domestic level, users could also take advantage of its benefits to share music, movies and any other information that is of interest. In this way, computer networks constitute one of the most relevant technological advances today .

What are computer networks?

It is defined as the set of two or more computer systems and other hardware components connected to each other through communication channels and that allow the sharing of information, resources and services among a large number of users. Today, the largest and best-known computer network is the Internet .

  • What are computer networks for?
  • Advantage
  • Background and history of computer networks
  • Characteristics of computer networks
  • Components
  • Classification of computer networks

What are computer networks for?

Computer networks provide different utilities, among which the following can be mentioned:

  • They allow communication through different communication tools such as email, instant messaging, among others.
  • They make it possible to share the same hardware component such as a printer or a scanner.
  • They facilitate access to information .
  • It allows the exchange of data in a safe and reliable way.
  • They make programs and equipment available to any user on the network regardless of the physical location of the resource and the user.


  • Computer networks allow easy and efficient use of communication tools such as emails, instant messaging, telephone lines, videoconferencing.
  • They favor the optimization of time in terms of the exchange of files and computer data.
  • They allow organizations to centralize their data and keep it organized , making it easier to access.
  • They favor teamwork .
  • They favor the reduction of expenses in terms of the purchase of material in a company.
  • They are a solution in terms of spam filtering since file exchange within a network is faster. This saves time while maintaining the integrity of your files.
  • They reduce computer security concerns because files and programs on the network are protected by passwords. Thus, only authorized persons will be able to access them.

Background and history of computer networks

Before the 1960s , the only way to communicate by remote access was through a local phone line . In the early 1960s, there were a few isolated computers that could only be accessed by cable.

In 1962 , a working group called ” Intergalactic Computer Network” was formed  , which represented a precursor of the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), which was a computer network conceived by order of the Department. Defense of the US government in order to boost technological advances. It is in 1969 that the first ARPANET connection takes place , allowing 4 American universities to connect at 50 kbits per second.

In 1973 , thanks to ARPANET, the first connection outside the United States was established , in Norway. At the time, ARPANET had 2000 users and already 75% made use of email through it.

In 1974 , the term “Internet” came up, conceived by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine from Stanford University. The word is initially used to refer to a global transmission control protocol / internet protocol network. (TCP / IP), that is, the steps to follow in order to exchange information within the network.

In 1976, John Murphy of Datapoint Corporation conceived ARCNET , the first system for sharing storage devices .

Later, in 1979, the USENET (Unix User Network) conversation groups appeared through which it was possible to propose a system for exchanging messages classified by category between Unix servers using the UUCP protocol.

In 1983 , Paul Mockapetris and Jon Postel conceived the Domain Name System (DNS) and the extensions .com, .org and .gov .

The Internet is opened to the public with the 1991 creation of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee . It is a graphical interface system , very ergonomic and very easy to use, which also allows you to go from one page or from one site to another, by clicking on the so-called “hypertext”.

Years later, the Internet experienced a worldwide expansion and allowed, thanks to the combination of computing, audiovisual and telecommunications, the multiplication of services of all kinds on the World Wide Web.

Today, it can be said that technological tools have not stopped evolving, thanks to the development of high-speed networks, both wired and wireless. Likewise, there has been the explosion of web 2.0 and there is already talk of web 3.0 .

Characteristics of computer networks

  • A network has a high transfer speed.
  • Allows file and resource sharing.
  • Facilitates communication between users.
  • File and resource services.
  • Offers security and reliability.


A computer network is a set of computer equipment connected to each other to exchange computer data. It is mainly made up of the following components:

  • The server: is responsible for controlling the operation of the network, running the operating system of the same and offering network services to workstations. This allows or not users to access the resources. Note that when talking about a physical server, this can be one of the computers on the network. When we speak of a server as software, we refer to a network operating system that allows communication between machines on a network.
  • Workstation: in a computer network, it is each of the computers that allows users to access the servers and peripherals of the network. Any of the computers can be a workstation if it is connected and has communication with the network.
  • Network cards : they are circuit cards, also known as network adapters, they have the function of connecting different devices to each other in order to share and transfer information from one device to another.
  • Network node: refers to any element that is connected and communicated to a network.

Classification of computer networks

According to its distribution

  • Linear: this topology is characterized by having a simple and economical design in which a single elongated cable is shared for all the components of the network. In this way, the cable passes from one device to the other. However, this distribution has the disadvantage that when the cable fails at one of the connection points, the entire network is affected and stops working.
  • Star : a junction box is used for this topology, also called a HUB. Unlike the linear topology, in the star network, each computer has its own cable, which requires a longer length of cabling. The advantage is that when a fault occurs, it is easy to detect its origin since each workstation has its own cable.
  • Tree: For this topology, a junction box or HUB is also used to connect the devices on the network. As usually , they are connected to twelve stations of four work. It is called a tree topology because of its branched shape.
  • Ring: in this case, the nodes are connected in the form of a closed circle. It is a one-way topology.

According to its size

  • Local area networks (LAN): communication system that allows hundreds of computers and peripherals to be connected over an area of ​​a few kilometers. A LAN network could be in an office or an educational institution.
  • Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN): They are a broader version of the LAN and use very similar technology. However, at present, it is not widely used.
  • Wide Area Networks (WAN): An extended network that can group thousands of computers separated by hundreds, even thousands of kilometers, thus covering a large geographical area.

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