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How Do Computer Networks Work?


How do computer networks work? This is a question every owner of a computer will eventually end up asking. Whether using a computer for work or pleasure, most people expect their computers to store, retrieve, and share information, even if it is only within the computer itself or with other peripherals. For instance, the person may want to network their computer with a printer, speakers, or a modem. However, most people use networking to connect their computer with other computers, especially when using internet services.

Computer Networks and Communication Processing

The best way to explain how computer networks work is to explain the communication process between a computer and another computer. This is because computer networking can be defined as a system of interconnected hardware devices, software, and applications that facilitate the exchange of communication from one point to another. The network exists to enhance the quantity, quality, and speed of the communication exchange. This communication can take place within a computer itself or between two or more computers. The communication takes place on several different levels.

Computer Communication Process

The basic communication process between two computers requires an originating application on one computer (point A) to send a file or other information to the other computer (point B). First, point A converts the information into electronic data. Next, point A sends the electronic data through the operating system to the hardware connecting the two computers. Point B then receives the electronic data through the connecting hardware. Point B decodes the electronic data and reconfigures it so it will be recognized by the receiving application. In the final stage of the process, the electronic data is converted back into the form of real-world information so the person retrieving the information can understand it.

Communication Complications

Computers, just like humans, may have trouble communicating with each other for various reasons. No two networks are exactly alike. To effectively network, the computers must use an agreed-on method that governs how the data is sent, received, and decoded. It is important that the desktop operating and network operating systems of the computers are compatible. The application software and hardware devices must also be compatible in order for the computers to effectively communicate. To ensure the best compatibility possible, computers normally have operating systems installed that can use national and international standards for data transmission.

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