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Summary

In this chapter, you've learned what a network is, how a network works, the varieties of networks available, and how the Internet relates to your network. As you can already see, understanding networks in depth requires some technical background but using a network makes the setup worth the effort. Clearly, when computer resources are shared through a network, you reap a variety of benefits ranging from reduced costs to ease of use to simpler administration. The cost savings and per-worker productivity gains represented by networks will be appreciated by companies trying to economize; from the worker's viewpoint, he or she has received a bonus because he or she doesn't have to chase down information anymore. If applications such as email, calendaring, and contact management are added to the mix, the network begins to establish synergistic relationships (that is, relationships that produce more value than the sum of their parts would suggest) between users and data. A well-designed and functional network allows groups of people to interact in ways that extend their natural capabilities and enables them to accomplish a great deal more than they could without the network.


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