In today's business world, reliable and efficient access to information has become an important asset in the quest to achieve a competitive advantage. File cabinets and mountains of papers have given way to computers that store and manage information electronically. Coworkers thousands of miles apart can share information instantaneously, just as hundreds of workers in a single location can simultaneously review research data maintained online.
Computer networking technologies are the glue that binds these elements together. The public Internet allows businesses around the world to share information with each other and their customers. The global computer network known as the World Wide Web provides services that let consumers buy books, clothes, and even cars online, or auction those same items off when no longer wanted.
In this article, we will take a very close look at networking, and in particular the Ethernet networking standard, so you can understand the actual mechanics of how all of these computers connect to one another.
Networking allows one computer to send information to and receive information from another. We may not always be aware of the numerous times we access information on computer networks. Certainly the Internet is the most conspicuous example of computer networking, linking millions of computers around the world, but smaller networks play a roll in information access on a daily basis. Many public libraries have replaced their card catalogs with computer terminals that allow patrons to search for books far more quickly and easily. Airports have numerous screens displaying information regarding arriving and departing flights. Many retail stores feature specialized computers that handle point-of-sale transactions. In each of these cases, networking allows many different devices in multiple locations to access a shared repository of data.
Before getting into the details of a networking standard like Ethernet, we must...