WHAT IS A LOCAL AREA NETWORK?
A local area network or LAN is a small network that has a range of only one home or office and connects multiple computers together, for many users a local area network is the gateway to the Internet.
The three most common types of shapes for a local area network to be set up in is:
~The bus topology- this type of topology connects computers by a single cable. It is easy to set up and can be done cheaply, but if one computer gets held up all other computers are held up along with it.
~The token ring- all computers on the network are connected by one cable looping around in an endless circle, data sent over the network loops until the client it has been addressed to recognizes it as being sent to them.
~The star topology- computers are connected by cable and a hub, switch, or router is in the center of the “star”, data is sent to one of the three devices and from there it is passed on to the node it is addressed to. This topology is the most common out of the three and is usually used to connect two LANs.
Three different types of hardware devices are used to move data around and protect the security of the network. These devices are:
~Hub- this device receives data and sends it out to ALL computers connected to the LAN regardless of whether it was addressed to them or not, the nodes ignore the data sent if it hasn’t been addressed to them. Hubs store data being sent to it if it’s already busy.
~Switch- switches functions like a hub but with one major difference, a switch reads a packets address it’s being sent to and send it out to only the line the receiving computer is on.
~Router- a router does everything a switch does except it doesn’t handle broadcast packets.