Computer networks: Facilitate communications Using a network, people can communicate efficiently and easily via email, instant messaging, chat rooms, telephone, video telephone calls, and video conferencing. Permit sharing of files, data, and other types of information In a network environment, authorized users may access data and information stored on other computers on the network. The capability of providing access to data and information on shared storage devices is an important feature of many networks. Share network and computing resources In a networked environment, each computer on a network may access and use resources provided by devices on the network, such as printing a document on a shared network printer. Distributed computing uses computing resources across a network to accomplish tasks. May be insecure A computer network may be used by computer hackers to deploy computer viruses or computer worms on devices connected to the network, or to prevent these devices from normally accessing the network (denial of service). May interfere with other technologies Power line communication strongly disturbs certain forms of radio communication, e.g., amateur radio. It may also interfere with last mile access technologies such as ADSL and VDSL. May be difficult to set up A complex computer network may be difficult to set up. It may also be very costly to set up an effective computer network in a large organization or company.
Computer networks can be classified according to the hardware and associated software technology that is used to interconnect the individual devices in the network, such as electrical cable (HomePNA, power line communication, G.hn), optical fiber, and radio waves (wireless LAN). In the OSI model, these are located at levels 1 and A well-known family of communication media is collectively known as Ethernet. It is defined by IEEE 802 and utilizes various standards and media that enable communication between devices. Wireless LAN technology is designed to connect devices without wiring. These devices use radio waves or infrared signals as a transmission medium.
The order of the following wired technologies is, roughly, from slowest to fastest transmission speed. Twisted pair wire is the most widely used medium for telecommunication. Twisted-pair cabling consist of copper wires that are twisted into pairs. Ordinary telephone wires consist of two insulated copper wires twisted into pairs. Computer networking cabling (wired Ethernet as defined by IEEE 802.3) consists of 4 pairs of copper cabling that can be utilized for both voice and data transmission. The use of two wires twisted together helps to reduce crosstalk and electromagnetic induction. The transmission speed ranges from 2 million bits per second to 10 billion bits per second. Twisted pair cabling comes in two forms: unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and shielded twisted-pair (STP). Each form comes in several category ratings, designed for use in various scenarios. Coaxial cable is widely used for cable television systems, office buildings, and other work-sites for local area networks. The cables consist of copper or aluminum wire surrounded by an insulating layer (typically a flexible material with a high dielectric constant), which itself is surrounded by a conductive layer. The insulation helps minimize interference and distortion. Transmission speed ranges from 200 million bits per second to more than 500 million bits per second. ITU-T G.hn technology uses existing home wiring (coaxial cable, phone lines and power lines) to create a high-speed (up to 1 Gigabit/s) local area network. An optical fiber is a glass fiber. It uses pulses of light to transmit data. Some advantages of optical fibers over metal wires are less transmission loss, immunity from electromagnetic radiation, and very fast transmission speed, up to trillions of bits per second. One can use different colors of lights to increase the number of messages being sent over a fiber optic cable. Terrestrial microwave – Terrestrial microwave communication uses Earth-based transmitters and receivers resembling satellite dishes. Terrestrial microwaves are in the low-gigahertz range, which limits all communications to line-of-sight. Relay stations are spaced approximately 48 km (30 mi) apart. Communications satellites – The satellites communicate via microwave radio waves, which are not deflected by the Earth's atmosphere. The satellites are stationed in space, typically in geosynchronous orbit 35,400 km (22,000 mi) above the equator. These Earth-orbiting systems are capable of receiving and relaying voice, data, and TV signals. Cellular and PCS systems use several radio communications technologies. The systems divide the region covered into multiple geographic areas. Each area has a low-power transmitter or radio relay antenna device to relay calls from one area to the next area. Radio and spread spectrum technologies – Wireless local area network use a high-frequency radio technology similar to digital cellular and a low-frequency radio technology. Wireless LANs use spread spectrum technology to enable communication between multiple devices in a limited area. IEEE 802.11 defines a common flavor of open-standards wireless radio-wave technology. Infrared communication can transmit signals for small distances, typically no more than 10 meters. In most cases, line-of-sight propagation is used, which limits the physical positioning of communicating devices. A global area network (GAN) is a network used for supporting mobile across an arbitrary number of wireless LANs, satellite coverage areas, etc. The key challenge in mobile communications is handing off user communications from one local coverage area to the next. In IEEE Project 802, this involves a succession of terrestrial wireless LANs.
There have been various attempts at transporting data over exotic media: IP over Avian Carriers was a humorous April fool's Request for Comments, issued as RFC 1149. It was implemented in real life in 2001. Extending the Internet to interplanetary dimensions via radio waves. Both cases have a large round-trip delay time, which prevents useful communicatio