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Networking and the Internet

A network is a collection of computers and other devices connected together by a cable (Cat5) or wireless technologies.

These connections may be completely local (Local Area Network - LAN) or may extend beyond the local to the Wide Area Network (WAN) via telephone lines (dial-up or ADSL), broadband cable or optical fibre. WAN connections give us internet connectivity. There are many methods of implementing this connectivity.

Common Scenarios - (click to see scenario)

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4 Scenario 5 Scenario 6
Single user connected to the internet via a dial-up modem ...more detail
This type of connection is ideal for occasional use for an individual or family where speed is not a major concern and where time spent on-line is minimal. While the user is on-line, telephone calls cannot be received or made.

The internet connection relies on the modem dialling the correct phone number of the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and establishing a dialogue that gives the PC a network capability. See glossary - modem, ISP
Multi users connected to the internet via a dial-up modem using Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) PC ...more detail

This type of connection is for occasional use for two or three computers where speed is not a major concern and where time spent on-line is minimal. While the user is on-line, telephone calls cannot be received or made.

One computer provides the internet connection via a modem and the other PCs "share" this connection via a network cable. This type of connection is suitable for low internet usage per PC. Typically, email and very light web surfing.

The internet connection relies on the modem dialling the correct phone number of the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and establishing a dialogue that gives the PC a network capability. See glossary - modem, ISP
Multi users connected to the internet via a dial-up modem using a dedicated gateway/router PC ...more detail

This type of connection is for occasional use for two or three computers where speed is not a major concern and where time spent on-line is minimal. While the users are on-line, telephone calls cannot be received or made.

One dedicated PC (gateway/router See glossary - gateway, router) provides the internet connection via a modem and the other PCs "share" this connection via a network cable. This type of connection is suitable for low internet usage per PC. Typically, email and very light web surfing.

The main advantage to using a gateway/router is the "firewall" it provides.

The internet connection relies on the modem dialling the correct phone number of the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and establishing a dialogue that gives the PC a network capability. See glossary - modem, ISP
Single user connected to the internet via an ADSL or Cable modem ...more detail

This type of connection is best for heavy use for an individual or family where there is a "need for speed" and time spent on-line is medium to heavy and it doesn't interfere with normal telephone use.

The internet connection relies on the ADSL/Cable modem connecting to the ADSL equipment belonging to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and establishing a dialogue that gives the PC a network capability. ADSL uses the telephone line without interfering with normal calls. Cable uses a dedicated coaxial connection identical to that used for cable pay-tv. These network connections are usually active whenever the PC is switched on. You will need a firewall appliance (software or hardware) to protect you from intruders. See glossary - ADSL, Cable and ISP
Single/multi user(s) connected to the internet via an ADSL modem/router ...more detail

This type of connection is best for heavy use for a network with multiple PCs requiring internet connectivity where speed is important as well as permanent internet access. Many small to medium businesses and families with 2 or more PCs use this type of connection.

The internet connection relies on the ADSL/Cable modem connecting to the ADSL equipment belonging to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and establishing a dialogue that gives the PCs a network capability. ADSL uses the telephone line without interfering with normal calls. These network connections are always active whenever the ADSL modem/router is switched on. Most modem/routers act as a firewall appliance to protect you from intruders. See glossary - ADSL, Cable and ISP
Single/multi user(s) connected to the internet via an ADSL wireless modem/router ...more detail

This type of connection is best for heavy use for a network with multiple PCs requiring internet connectivity where speed is important as well as permanent internet access. Wireless connectivity is also required due to mobility requirements or where the cost of cabling makes wired connections un-economical. Many small to medium businesses and families with 2 or more PCs and notebooks use this type of connectivity.

The internet connection relies on the ADSL/Cable modem connecting to the ADSL equipment belonging to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and establishing a dialogue that gives the PCs a network capability. ADSL uses the telephone line without interfering with normal calls. These network connections are always active whenever the ADSL modem/router is switched on.

Most modem/routers act as a firewall appliance to protect you from intruders but wireless routers add a new level of security that is meant to prevent eaves-dropping of transmitted data by undesired persons. See glossary - ADSL, Cable and ISP


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