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Chapter 7. Networking and Internetworking > Getting Started with Networking

7.1. Getting Started with Networking

There are several different kinds of networks, each with their own limitations and advantages. A simple "peer-to-peer" workgroup can comprise as few as two computers connected with a single cable. This is ideal in a home office or small business setting, where individual systems can be linked together with a minimum of hardware and cabling and configured to share resources. A shared folder, for example, is merely a standard folder residing on a single computer, made accessible to any other computer on the network through Explorer as though it were actually on each computer's hard disk.

Larger organizations typically deploy networks based on the client/server topology. Client/server networks are different from peer-to-peer networks not so much in technology as in the roles the different computers play. For example, one computer on the network, which might be running Unix or Windows, would take on the role of the mail server, while another would be configured to handle such tasks as printing, storage of data and applications, backup, or user authentication. The rest of the computers—the clients—would subsequently retrieve email from the mail server, send print jobs to the print server, and store data on the file server.


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