Computers can communicate electronically with other computers via a local
area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN). When individual
workstations interconnect and have access to each others information ardor
resources, it is called a network. These networks consist of nodes, the
hardware, and are interconnected by links, the communications media of
twisted-pair wire, coaxial cable, or fiber-optic cable.
Workstations that use a local area network (LAN) are usually in close
proximity to each other, often in the same building. A LAN can transfer
data, files, and programs from one PC to another or even from one LAN to
LAN configurations or topology is the physical arrangement of the LAN
components. The three common configurations are the star, the bus, and the
ring network. In the star configuration, each component connects directly to
a central computer or network server. In the bus configuration, all
workstations connect to the same cable and the far ends of the cable never
meet. In a ring network, all components connect to a cable and this cable
forms a ring. Each configuration offers a compromise in advantages and
disadvantages. Your LAN configuration was probably already set up before
you arrived or tapped into it.
It takes network software, communications software, and interfacing software
to make a LAN network work correctly. Also, each workstation must have a
network interface card (NIC).
Wide area networks cover a larger geographical area than a LAN system.
Examples of a WAN would include the Internet, Bulletin Board Services
(BBS), electronic mail (E-Mail), and the world wide web (WWW). You may
or may not have the opportunity to access any of these networks from your
workstation in the graphics shop.