In the past, computers were used for performing arithmetic operations. However, with the advancement of technology, the computer crosses the boundary of data processing and entered into the phase of sending and receiving information from one computer to another at a distant location. This became possible with the help of networking. In 1969, a computer scientist J.C.R Licklider developed the first network for data communication known as Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) and on the basis of this network, the Internet works today.
A network is an arrangement in which two or more computers are connected in such a way that they are able to communicate with each other. In a network, a computer can receive and send electronic mails (e-mails), files, and instant messages to another computer with the help of certain rules (known as protocols) and a server. A server is a computer that processes request of the computer user (client) and provides the appropriate result to them. For communication between computers, a connecting medium (generally a cable) is required through which data can be transferred in the form of signals in a network. Nowadays, communication between computers is not restricted to physical cables. Wireless networks also allow computers to exchange information with the help of radio signals. For example, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) allows you to connect computers to exchange information without using any cables.
In this chapter, you learn about the basics, needs, advantages, and disadvantages of networking. In addition, you learn about the characteristics of a network. After that, you get familiar to the hardware and software requirements for setting up a network. Moreover, you explore the role of a server in networking. Further, the chapter discusses different types of network models. At the end, the chapter discusses the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model and the client/server architecture that are used for communication in a network.