Computer networking has various purposes which include:
Resource sharing, remote communication, distributed processing facilities, cost effectiveness and reliability.
1.8.0 PURPOSE OF NETWORKING
✓ Resource Sharing
Anything available on the same network environment is referred to as a resource this include: printers, fax machines, data/information, modems, files etc.
Resource sharing is the idea of computers sharing resources in a common network. For example: in a computer lab, all computers can be able to share the same printer or scanner. Also, information can be shared in all computers
✓ Remote Communication
Remote communication refers to the transmission of data signals between two communication devices located at different locations. A computer that tries to access resources from another computer on the network is called a remote client while the computer being accessed is called a remote host. Remote communication has been made possible use of wireless transmission media such as radio waves, microwave and satellite
✓ Distributed Processing Facilities
Distributed data processing is a computer-networking method in which multiple computers across different locations share computer-processing capability. This is in contrast to a single, centralized server managing and providing processing capability to all connected systems. Computers that comprise the distributed data-processing network are located at different locations but interconnected means of wireless or satellite links.
Files reside on the user’s computer rather than on a central computer. Branch offices in a large organization have their own servers that store data, information and other resources required for the daily operations. These servers would periodically update the central computer.
Advantages of Distributed Processing
i. The failure of the central computer does not affect the operations of the other terminals (reliability) processing load is shared equally hence no time wastage (improved performance and reduced time wasting)
ii. Relatively cheap -Distributed data processing considerably lowers the cost of data sharing and networking across an organization comprising several minicomputers that cost significantly
less than mainframe machines.
iii. The system is flexible in sharing of processing activities also in terms of increasing or decreasing processing power. For example, adding more nodes or computers to the network increases processing power and overall system capability, while reducing computers from the network
decreases processing power.
iv. Cost Effectiveness- Even though the initial cost is higher, the savings experienced and the value
added to service delivery make them a ready choose for enterprising managers. Networks greatly
increase the efficient use of scarce resources thus saving operational costs
v. Reliability- A computer network is reliable because:
a. Data can be transferred with minimum error from source to destination
b. In case one computer breaks down, a user can still access data and information from other computers on the same network.
Advantages of Computer Networking
1. Easy Communication: It is very easy to communicate through a network. People can communicate efficiently using a network with a group of people. They can enjoy the benefit of emails, instant messaging, telephony, video conferencing, chat rooms, etc.
2. Ability to Share Files, Data and Information: This is one of the major advantages of networking computers. People can find and share information and data because of networking. This is beneficial for large organizations to maintain their data in an organized manner and facilitate access for desired
3. Sharing of Resources: Another important advantage of networking is the ability to share hardware/software. For an example, a printer can be shared among the users in a network so that there’s no need to have individual printers for each and every computer in the company. This will significantly reduce the cost of purchasing hardware.
4. Speed: Sharing and transferring files within networks is very rapid, depending on the type of network. This will save time while maintaining the integrity of files.
1.8.1 LIMITATIONS (DISADVANTAGES) OF NETWORKING
1. Security Issues: Data and information is more prone to illegal access than where there is no networking. Computer crimes like tapping of information is common
2. High Initial Costs: Initial costs of acquiring network resources like hardware and software is high
3. Moral and Cultural Effects: Large networks like the internet have chat rooms and messaging services that enable underage children to meet peers and adults on the net some of whom may have bad intentions. E.g. access to drugs information and pornographic contents
4. Spread of Terrorism and Drug Trafficking: The easy flow of information keeps even those who are on the wrong side of the law communicating easily. Terrorists and drug traffickers use information networks for their business communications
5. Over – Reliance on networks: All businesses these days is dependent on computer networks. And if a network fails, businesses will halt to a standstill and bring enormous losses.
6. Bandwidth Issues: In a network there are users who consume a lot more bandwidth than others. Because of this some other people may experience difficulties.