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Chapter 12. File Sharing > Getting Started

Getting Started

Any network, no matter how complex, basically consists of networking cable connected to various computer systems and peripherals. Networking wasn’t always this simple—many older networks required special cabling configurations and multiple network connectors per host. Today’s Ethernet networks have so simplified networking that network cards, cables, and other accessories can be sold off the shelf. This section provides an overview of some types of networks. You’ll then learn about the most common types of networking hardware and networking buzzwords, such as hubs and switches. After covering physical networking using cables, you’ll learn about today’s wireless networks and explore how systems, such as Apple’s AirPort, let you use your laptop almost anywhere without sacrificing network connectivity. This section concludes by providing a firm foundation in networking concepts, such as clients, servers, and peer-to-peer networking. By the end of this section, you may not be a certified network engineer, but you should be able to play one on TV.

Wiring Everything Together

Networking is second only to the U.S. government in terms of its APS (acronyms per sentence) density. Computer networking features a bewildering variety of types of cables, network layouts, competing and complementary protocols, and supposed standards, all of which have complex names that have been shortened into acronyms. In the following sections, I’ll explain the most common and popular acronyms but stick to English whenever possible.


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