Basic Components of Networks

A network has 5 basic components viz. clients, servers, channels, interface devices and operating systems. A brief intro:

  1. Servers: Servers or Host computers are are powerful computers that store data or applications and connect to resources that are shared by the users of a network.
  2. Clients: Client is the computer used by the users of the network to access the servers and shared resources (such as hard disks and printers). So, a personal computer is a client.
  3. Channels: The technical name of channels is network circuit. It is the pathway over which information travels between the different computers (clients and servers) that comprise the network.
  4. Interface devices: The devices that connect clients and servers (and sometimes other networks) to the channel are called interface devices. The common examples are modems and network interface cards.
  5. Operating systems: This is the Network Software. It serves purpose that the operating system serves in a stand-alone computer.

Channel Dimensions

There are a number of varieties of the types, speeds and capabilities of network channels. These may be Transmission medium such as wireless or wire line, Transmission rate or bandwidth, Transmission directional capability and the Type of the Signal.

  • Transmission medium is the physical medium of the channel, which can be either wire line or wireless. The wire line is called the guided media or line based media. The wire line are of several kinds such as twisted pair wire, coaxial cable and fiber optic cable. The wireless media there is no physical wire along which information travels and the information is transmitted without wires from one transmission station to the next. Common examples are radio, mobile networks, microwave and satellite.
  • Transmission rate or bandwidth shows how fast information can be transmitted over the channel. It is measured in bits per second (bps).
  • Transmission directional capability refers to the direction in which information can be transmitted over a channel; It can be simplex, half-duplex or full-duplex. Simplex means that information can be transmitted only in one direction, Half-duplex means that information can be transmitted in both directions, but only in one direction at a time. Full-duplex means that Information can be transmitted in both directions simultaneously.
  • Signal type can be analog and digital. Analog signals are ‘continuous’ (they take on a wide range of values) and digital signals are ‘discrete’, and binary (take on only two values). So, Digital signals are more suitable for computer networks because, computers represent all information in binary.