What is a computer network?
A network is any two or more computers connected together. This connection can be by modem, a cable between PCs, or via a hub connecting multiple computers.
Why should I use a network?
If you are reading this, you already know one major reason- to share information. The Internet is a computer network. Another is to share resources, such as printers. Most offices use networks to make it easy to access shared files and to store critcal information in one place (a server) so that it is easy to back up.
What does a server do?
A server is any computer that shares its' resources.
Those resources are most commonly the hard drive, printers, and the CDRom
drive. Novell's servers are dedicated... i.e. they don't have games
or any other functions other than being a server. Microsoft's Windows
'95, '98, and Windows NT all can function as servers. Windows NT
Server software is more robust than the other Windows versions in the server
application. Some servers also run applications, such as database
sharing, web server use, etc.
What kind of computer should I get to use as a server?
You should buy a high quality computer with a large hard drive, a backup system to support it, and include a large quantity of RAM. The server should have at least a Pentium class processor. Windows NT's practical requirements are approximately twice that of Novell's.
What else do I need to make a network? Do I HAVE to have a server?
You need network cards (NICs) in each computer.
Ethernet is the most popular and least expensive. Get a quality NIC
to make installation much easier and improve performance. And if
you are using Windows '95 or '95 in a home environment, you do not need
a server. Just remember that when you are working on an important
shared document on a different computer, you may lose the document if that
PC crashes while your child is playing their newest game on it. You
will also need a hub to interconnect the computers. Hubs commonly
come with 4, 8, or 16 port (connections), plus and uplink port to connect
additional hubs. You should use "catagory 5" 10BaseT network cables
to connect the PCs to the hub.
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Until next time... Happy Computing !
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