What is a network?

What is a network?

The term network refers to the connection of several computers, servers and other devices that communicate and share data with each other. It forms the groundwork for collaboration and the exchange of information in the digital world. Resources can be spread across several computers via this connection, e.g. as with cloud computing or edge computing.

Detailed explanation with examples of uses

In the IT world, a network is essentially a group of interconnected computers and other devices. This connection enables the sharing of resources and information. Computer networks can extend locally (local area network, LAN) or over long distances (wide area network, WAN). The internet is the best-known and most extensive network through which computers communicate with each other worldwide.

A basic example is the transmission of data via peer-to-peer (P2P), in which only two devices directly connected by a cable can communicate with each other.

A network that most will likely be familiar with, other than the internet, is a home network: several computers, smartphones, printers and even smart TVs can be connected to each other to share resources such as files, internet access and printing services. 

In a company, the networking of end devices enables, for example, communication between employees and the exchange of files. Servers on this network can provide specialised services including email, web hosting and data storage. Complex applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) can even be operated through these connections.

For data centres like Cadolto, networking is crucial. It connects servers within the data centre and enables communication with devices outside the data centre. High-speed connections ensure that large amounts of data are transferred quickly and reliably between all connected devices.


How does a network work?

A network works by connecting computers and other devices through communication protocols that enable the exchange of data and resources. The connected devices can share information and resources by sending and receiving data packets over the network. Routers and switches ensure that these packets arrive at their destination correctly.

What types of network exist?

The seven main types of computer network include:

  • Local area network (LAN)
  • Wide area network (WAN)
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P)
  • Personal area network (PAN)
  • Metropolitan area network (MAN)
  • Wireless local area network (WLAN)
  • Virtual private network (VPN)

Is there a network of networks?

A network of networks is known as an “internetwork,” more commonly known as the “internet.” The internet is the most comprehensive example of largescale networking, connecting millions of local and wide-area networks globally.