Why has networking evolved as an indispensible part of technology today? To find answer to this question, let us have a look at the advantages of networking:
i) Sharing of files and software
A network enables users to share data files with each other. For e.g. different departments of an organization may be seperated physically, being at distant places, but their data could be stored on a central computer which can be accessed by computers located in different departments. In this way latest data can be made available at all times to all users. Files and folders can be backed up to local or remote shares. Software can be installed centrally rather than on each machine which proves to be much cheaper than buying licenses for every machine.
ii) Sharing Peripherals Laser printers and large storage media are quite expensive. Networks enable us to share such resources and hence reduce the operational cost of any organization. For e.g. a company with about fifty computers can share resources such as printers, scanners, hard disks etc, thereby reducing the cost considerably. Even fax systems can be integrated within a network. Audio and video content can also be streamed to multiple devices.
2. Improving communication Computer A computer network can provide a powerful, fast and reliable communication medium among the different departments or different branches to prepare a presentation together in spite of being located in different cities. In fact the best example in this context can be of the use of internet (discussed later in the chapter). With the help of internet we can communicate efficiently and easily via email, instant messaging, chat rooms, telephone, video telephone calls, and video conferencing. users of various computers on the network. Using a network, it is easy for two or more people, of say
3. Access to remote database
This is another major use of network. It is easy for an average person to access any remote database, say for example airline reservations and thereby book tickets. Likewise databases of trains, online universities, hotels etc can be accessed as per the requirement. Remote-control/access programs can be used to troubleshoot problems or show new users how to perform a task. Like two sides of a coin, networking also has some disadvantages associated with it.