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Chapter Summary

In this chapter we had the opportunity to sort out some of the important technology milestones that lead to the introduction of the personal computer. We also had an opportunity to define networking and take a look at why you would want to network PCs.

  • Strictly speaking, a network is two or more connected computers. The larger the network, the greater the variety of network devices (such as hubs or routers) that will be required to connect the networked computers together.

  • Computers can be networked to share resources such as printers and files. Networked computers can also provide a communication medium for network users.

  • Mainframes and minicomputers provided a centralized computing model in which all resources are supplied by the mainframe or minicomputer and accessed by users accessing the computer using dumb terminals.

  • The IBM PC, launched in August of 1981, began the PC revolution. It became the standard for the desktop business computer.

  • Networking hardware and software was developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s. The networking standard developed at PARC was further developed by Xerox, Intel, and DEC into the Ethernet networking architecture, which is still the most popular PC networking architecture in the world.

  • Networks are made up of client and server computers. Client computers are used by network users to gain access to the network. Server computers are used to supply the resources that are accessed by the users on the network.

  • Network user access to the network and its resources is controlled by the network administrator. The network administrator controls both the access level of the users and the resources that they can access. This ability to control access is provided by the network operating system running on the server.

  • Computers process data in parallel, whereas data is moved across the network in serial. The network interface card (NIC) is used to translate data from parallel to serial, and vice versa, and it provides the computer with a connection to the network media.

  • Being a network administrator does not mean that you can build a computer from bear skins using a stone knife or that you can make data move through the air using only the power of your mind. To be a network administrator, you need a good grounding in PC hardware and software and a very good understanding of the intricacies of the network operating system that you use to control your network.



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