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Understanding networks and internet access

From: Computer Literacy for Windows

Video: Understanding networks and internet access

In the context of discussing computers, a network is basically two or more computers or peripheral devices such as printers or scanners, connected to and communicating with each other. Technically, one computer connecting to another computer is considered a very basic network. More often though computers and other devices on the network communicate through a device called a router. A router handles and manages all the network traffic, which is essentially the data being passed from one device to another and ensures that the right data gets to the right device. You may have heard of other devices called switches or hubs, which operate similarly to a router, but with a little less sophistication and capabilities.

Understanding networks and internet access

In the context of discussing computers, a network is basically two or more computers or peripheral devices such as printers or scanners, connected to and communicating with each other. Technically, one computer connecting to another computer is considered a very basic network. More often though computers and other devices on the network communicate through a device called a router. A router handles and manages all the network traffic, which is essentially the data being passed from one device to another and ensures that the right data gets to the right device. You may have heard of other devices called switches or hubs, which operate similarly to a router, but with a little less sophistication and capabilities.

I am not going to get into the specific details here, and for simplicity's sake I am going to refer to the network management device as the router, even though I could also say a hub or a switch depending on what the device actually is. Now, the point of a network is to make it easy for all the computers in your home or office to communicate with one another. This allows you to share files directly with other computers without having to copy the files to a disk or to email them. Networks are also operating system agnostic, so you can have both Macs and PCs on the same network. A network also allows you to have shared devices like printers and scanners, so each person doesn't need to have his or her own.

Another very common purpose of a network is to share a single Internet connection among all your computers. Many people these days have high- speed broadband Internet services in their homes and need to share that connection with several computers and other Internet enabled devices in their household. Routers generally all have ports to accept the connection from a broadband modem. High-speed services such as cable, DSL, and fiber optics are considered broadband. Now it's important to understand that just connecting to a network does not mean you are connected to the Internet. Connecting to a network means you are connected to the other devices on the network.

This is known as your Local Area Network or LAN. For Internet service to be available to all the computers on your LAN, the Internet modem must also be connected to the router. The Internet connection is known as the Wide Area Network or WAN. Basically, the entire Internet outside your LAN is considered the WAN. Incidentally, sometimes the modem provided to you by your Internet service provider is also a router, negating the need to have a separate router and modem. Now, there are two main ways for your devices to connect to a network: wired connections and wireless connections. Wired connections involve cables that look like this, commonly called Ethernet connections.

The advantage of a wired connection is it requires very little setup or configuration. For the most part, you just plug one end of the cable into your router, plug the other end into your computer, adjust and check your settings, and you are immediately connected to your network and the Internet. Wireless connections, often called Wi- Fi connections, usually involve a little more setup, but offer the advantage of freeing your device from cables and allowing you to connect to your network and the internet from anywhere within the range of the wireless signal. That's another important point. In order to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal, you must have a Wi-Fi enabled router.

But most Internet service providers today give you routers with Wi-Fi capabilities and you can also purchase Wi-Fi routers inexpensively in any computer store. So in this chapter, we are going to look at how to connect to a network both via Ethernet and Wi-Fi and we will also talk more about how to connect to the Internet through your network.

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This video is part of

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Computer Literacy for Windows

55 video lessons · 18064 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
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  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the assessment files
      1m 2s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 9m 53s
    1. What's a computer?
      1m 48s
    2. What's inside a computer?
      2m 46s
    3. Laptop vs. desktop computers
      1m 52s
    4. Special considerations when using a laptop
      3m 27s
  3. 17m 29s
    1. Understanding the operating system
      3m 3s
    2. Understanding files, folders, and directories
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding your Home (User) folder
      3m 9s
    4. Using your desktop
      2m 46s
    5. Taking out the trash (recycle bin)
      1m 45s
    6. The right click
      2m 8s
  4. 25m 38s
    1. Understanding applications
      4m 36s
    2. Opening and saving files
      4m 3s
    3. Choosing the right tool
      4m 37s
    4. How to learn any application
      4m 53s
    5. Five things that work in all applications
      7m 29s
  5. 35m 26s
    1. Understanding computer ports
      2m 33s
    2. Setting up a printer
      3m 36s
    3. Printing your documents
      3m 52s
    4. Setting up a scanner
      2m 8s
    5. Scanning a document
      5m 59s
    6. Setting up a projector or a second monitor
      6m 17s
    7. Using a projector
      3m 43s
    8. Portable storage devices
      3m 55s
    9. Pairing with Bluetooth devices
      3m 23s
  6. 20m 46s
    1. Understanding networks and internet access
      2m 58s
    2. Connecting to wired networks
      2m 47s
    3. Connecting to wireless networks
      5m 0s
    4. Working in a networked environment
      5m 49s
    5. Staying protected from viruses
      4m 12s
  7. 23m 24s
    1. Understanding email servers and clients
      2m 11s
    2. Setting up your email application
      4m 15s
    3. Receiving and reading email
      3m 50s
    4. Composing new email messages
      7m 4s
    5. Reply vs. Reply All
      2m 12s
    6. Dealing with spam
      3m 52s
  8. 8m 22s
    1. Understanding search engines
      1m 24s
    2. Conducting basic searches
      3m 44s
    3. Conducting advanced searches
      3m 14s
  9. 27m 15s
    1. Introduction to word processors
      4m 46s
    2. Formatting text
      7m 57s
    3. Introduction to spreadsheets
      4m 0s
    4. Creating a simple data table
      8m 13s
    5. Formatting a data table
      2m 19s
  10. 28m 52s
    1. Importing images from a digital camera
      7m 57s
    2. Storing and organizing digital images
      4m 28s
    3. Basic image manipulation
      9m 17s
    4. Tagging images
      4m 56s
    5. Sharing images
      2m 14s
  11. 12m 46s
    1. Common obstacles in sharing files
      1m 37s
    2. Creating PDFs for document sharing
      6m 4s
    3. Compressing files
      5m 5s
  12. 1m 4s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 4s

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