Computer networking is the linking of computers and electronic devices to "talk" or share digital information with each other. Today there are many options available to form a computer network. Most of these options can be used in conjunction with other options to construct a versatile and robust network. We'll discuss these options on a limited scale and evaluate pros and cons of each option. You may click a picture on the left or one of the underlined words for additional information.
Wired: The traditional method is to use wires to connect the computers and other electronic devices to allow them to "talk" to each other. The majority of businesses and homes use this method with great efficiency. A wired network gives us quick and secure access to other computers and the information stored on them. Even your internet access is a form of a wired connection, but on a very large scale. A wired network is very cost effective with little maintenance required. The drawback to a wired connection is the fact that you are limited to the "length of your wire".
Pros: Fast and efficient --- Most common today --- Cost effective
Cons: Limited mobility --- Potential for 'unsightly' wires in your environment
Wireless: A relatively new and popular method is to use wireless transmitters and receivers to connect the computers and electronic devices. A wireless network is not as secure and access speeds are not as quick as a wired network but significant improvements to both of these factors are being released at phenomenal rates. Common "wired" internet connections such as broadband and DSL are often converted to a wireless system. Most portable computers, aka laptops or notebooks, have wireless receivers built into the machine itself that can utilize the wireless signal. This allows you be more mobile around your home or office but wireless connections also have a limited range. Wireless networks typically require the purchase of additional parts but there are exceptions. There is also another type of wireless connection for internet. For more information, please click here.
Pros: High mobility --- Few, if any, wires --- Cost effective for small environments
Cons: Slower speeds --- Security vulnerabilities
Bluetooth: This option typically connects only devices to computers rather than computers to each other. Bluetooth will only stay connected for short ranges, typically about 30 feet. However, this is a very popular method to connect cell phones, MP3 players, headphones, and even your keyboard and/or mouse.