In the past, when two persons were willing to share data between each other, they were relying on movable disks such as floppy disks and CD-ROM. These ways of transmitting data between remote computers are often difficult especially if the files will be transmitted very often.
Because of the above difficulties in transmitting data across movable disks, the idea of networking two or more computer has been arisen. Instead of transmitting the files across movable disks, the computers are connected to each other by cables through ports on the computer. When someone needs to transmit the data to another computer, he simply can share the files he needs to transmit across the network. This way no movable disk is needed and the matter is easier.
When talking about computer networking, one must differentiate between the many types that exist for the network. The computer network can be classified according to the geographical area they occupy or according to the manner they will behave when sharing and accessing data between the computers in the network.
Let us first see how they are classified according to the geographical area. The meaning of this classification is how much the network will occupy or simply what the size of the network is. There are three types for any networks according to this classification. They are the LAN, WAN, and MAN. The LAN (Local Area Network) has the smallest size with respect to the other types. The LAN can occupy a room, a floor, a building such as company, or at most a group of adjacent buildings. The MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) can occupy a whole city or even a while state. On the other hand, the WAN can occupy a whole country, group of countries, or even the whole world.
The second classification is according to the data distribution across the network and how the computers that are connected to each other are treated. There two types of networks according to this classification. The first one is peer to peer network. The meaning of this classification is that all computers in the network are treated as equal. Thus the size of the data on one computer can be equal to the size on another computer. Also the processing and storage power of the all devices are equal. Thus there is no computer on the network that is higher in value than the other computer. Hence the name peer to peer network.
The second type of networks according to the above classification is the client-server network. In this type, the matter is different in that not all computers are equal in value. At the least, there is one computer (that is called the server) that has much processing power and storage power. Therefore the data is stored on that computer to be shared across the network. Every computer that needs some data that is shared across the network can take it from the server only. This is because all computers other than the server have less sizes of memory and also processor power.