Introduction to computer networking for beginners (2023)

Computer networks are a means by which computers are interconnected to share data and information, resources and all other network devices such as printers.

Computers, as we now know, apply to all fields of activity, be it agriculture, education, medicine, technology, transportation, etc. So there is an obvious need for an organization to have an internetwork of its computers to further help share and retrieve data and efficiently manage and use computing resources.

Today's world is a global village with the advent of the Internet, which is a combination of millions of interconnected computer systems to share information. The growth of the internet has sporadically improved as it provides useful information and platforms for all classes of people, business people, students, artisans, artisans and all other categories of people and professions.

Types of computer networks

Computer networks can be classified based on different attributes such as physical size, connection mode, device types, etc. To ease the introduction, let's look at their classification in terms of physical size. You will often hear the following.

  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
  • Wide Area Network (WAN)

Local Area Network (LAN)

LAN a type of computer network that generally deals with a small area and most often restricted to one location; for example, networking an Internet café, a computer lab, or simply building an organization.

The network of a home or a small building is known as SOHO LAN (Small Home Office Local Area Network). In this type of network, there are usually few computers and other network devices, for example switches and routers involved (details about the devices are explained below).

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Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

MAN is a type of computer network that is larger than a LAN but does not reach a WAN (Wide Area Network). It is an intermediary between LAN and WAN. It covers more areas than a LAN and has a larger number of computers; it can also be seen as a combination of more than one LAN.

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In this type, the use of routers is well employed for network segregation and integration, and requires more administrative controls due to their size.

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Wide Area Network (WAN)

This is the biggest form of computer network covering thousands of acres of land area. You can cross states and countries; there is no limit to the number of computers and devices or network resources involved. WAN employs the use of all necessary network devices like switches, routers, hubs, bridges, repeaters, etc. This type of network usually requires full-time administrative verification, as its failure can lead to massive data loss or theft.

An easily familiar example is the Internet.

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Networking devices and terms

There are many networking devices available and many terminologies are used. Let's find out about them the following.


A router is used to connect different networks. That is, for two or more LANs to be interconnected, a router is needed. It is responsible for determining the route of the sent data. The router is considered a layer three device, because it operates at layer 3 of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) communication model and uses IP addresses in its interface.

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To change

The switch is responsible for connecting computers to each other. The switch is an important backbone of LANs. As it provides a way for different computers to be interconnected. This device is known to operate at layer 2 of the standard OSI communication model. So it's a layer two device. The switch is an improved form of a jumper.

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wireless router

you can have at home. A wireless router helps you connect multiple devices without cables.

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Commonly known as wifi network and used to distribute internet to various devices at home, shop or office.

Access point

In wireless networks, an access point is used instead of a switch.

Model OSI

OSI model concept designed to standardize the communication system between devices on a network. It consists of seven layers.

  • Physicist
  • data link
  • Red
  • Transport
  • session
  • Presentation
  • Application


The hub is also known as a multiport repeater due to its resemblance to a repeater, although there are specific devices called repeaters. The hub was also used to connect computers and share data between them, but now it is mainly used as a repeater to repeat signals over long distances. The hub is known as a layer one device (in the OSI model), as is the repeater.


Ethernet for the cabling system and ports involved in the network. Network cables are called Ethernet cables and are used to connect a computer to all other network devices or for a computer-to-computer connection. The most common of these is the RJ45 connector.

On Cisco devices, the Ethernet ports on a router or switch are known as Fast Ethernet ports, most of which are indicated by letters and numbers, depending on their arrangement. For example, the first Ethernet port on a router is labeled Fa0/0, while the first Ethernet port on a switch is labeled Fa0/1.

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IP address

IP stands for Internet Protocol.

The IP address is a 32-bit address given to computers, switches, and routers so that they can be easily located by other devices on the network. It currently exists in two versions, which areIPv4(IP version 4) andIPv6(IP version 6).

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IPv4 is the most used. It is written as a set of 12 numbers separated by dots in three(s), for example 192,168,231,254 or it can be written shorter if the first number is zero i.e. 010,002,001,001 can be written as

Currently, IPv6 is not very common in use. It was developed to address the challenges of increasing IP address depletion. It is written in the form 2031:0000:130F:0000:0000:09C0:876A:130B. Contains numbers and alphabets.

Do you want to know your public Internet IP? try thismy ip tool.


The MAC (Media Access Control) address is a 64-bit manufacturer's address engraved on your computer's motherboards, routers, and switches. Each computer, switch, or router has a unique MAC address. This is a single source of identity for electronic devices for easy recognition. It is as unique as the fingerprint of human beings.

subnet mask

The subnet mask helps determine the class of an IP address as it is assigned to computers, routers or switches along with an IP address to clarify its class or network.

  • For class A IP address: subnet mask, it is written as
  • For class B IP address, subnet mask is written as
  • For class C IP address, subnet mask is written as

Domain Name Service (DNS)

DNS is a service for translating or transforming human readable names into IP addresses and vice versa. you can use aDNS record lookupto find out the resolution IP address.

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Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

DHCP is a service for automatically assigning IP addresses to host devices such as computers. This function is performed by a router (only when configured to do so).

Rede local virtual (VLAN)

VLAN is a method of logically separating a LAN and making different networks appear to be on one. Physically it is a network, but logically they are different networks. This is done via a switch (only when configured to do so).


Wi-Fi is a method of wirelessly connecting computers to a network, i.e. wireless networking, which involves the use of Wi-Fi enabled computers, access points, wireless routers, etc.

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It is the ability of a network to expand in such a way as to make room for more devices to interconnect and join the network without causing major changes to the entire network.


I hope this gives you an idea about basic computer networking terms. If you are non-technical and interested in learning more about networking, check out this brilliantonline course.


What are the networking questions and answers? ›

Networking Interview Questions
  • How are Network types classified?
  • Explain different types of networks.
  • Explain LAN (Local Area Network)
  • Tell me something about VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  • What are the advantages of using a VPN?
  • What are the different types of VPN?
  • What are nodes and links?
  • What is the network topology?
Dec 19, 2022

How do I start learning computer networking? ›

Introduction to networking for complete beginners
  1. Identify network devices and hardware.
  2. Describe the roles of a firewall.
  3. Understand Cisco certificates.
  4. Use ipconfig, ping and traceroute commands.
  5. Check basic network connectivity.
  6. Have enough knowledge to join more advanced training.

What is the computer networking answer? ›

Computer networking refers to interconnected computing devices that can exchange data and share resources with each other. These networked devices use a system of rules, called communications protocols, to transmit information over physical or wireless technologies.

Is intro to computer networking hard? ›

Computer Networking Can Be a Challenge

You'll also need to know how to develop LAN and WAN networks and what potential network issues look like. These technical concepts can be challenging at times, especially as you gain experience in the field.

What are 3 keys to good networking? ›

Three Keys to Effective Networking
  • Be authentic, reciprocate, and think about the long-term relationship.
  • Prepare, practice, and perfect your approach.
  • Take time, take action, and take away the experience.
Jan 26, 2021

What are the five 5 elements of a network? ›

There are basically 4 computer networking elements:
  • Computers.
  • Transmission medium (wired or wireless)
  • Protocols.
  • Network software.
Dec 27, 2021

What are the basics of computer networking? ›

Computer networks connect nodes like computers, routers, and switches using cables, fiber optics, or wireless signals. These connections allow devices in a network to communicate and share information and resources. Networks follow protocols, which define how communications are sent and received.

What are the 4 types of networks? ›

Below mentioned are different types of networks:
  • PAN (Personal Area Network)
  • LAN (Local Area Network)
  • MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)
  • WAN (Wide Area Network)
Aug 5, 2022

What are basics of networking? ›

Clients and servers—how services such as e-mail and web pages connect using networks. IP addresses—how devices on a network can be found. Network hubs, switches and cables—the hardware building blocks of any network. Routers and firewalls—how to organize and control the flow of traffic on a network.

What are the two main types of computer network? ›

Two basic network types are local-area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs). LANs connect computers and peripheral devices in a limited physical area, such as a business office, laboratory, or college campus, by means of links (wires, Ethernet cables, fibre optics, Wi-Fi) that transmit data rapidly.

What is LAN vs WAN vs man vs pan? ›

PAN: Personal Area Network. LAN: Local Area Network. MAN: Metropolitan Area Network. WAN: Wide Area Network.

What is IP address in networking? ›

An IP address is a unique address that identifies a device on the internet or a local network. IP stands for "Internet Protocol," which is the set of rules governing the format of data sent via the internet or local network.

Do you need math for computer networking? ›

A solid math background is valuable, like all the other computer science and engineering fields. In addition to Calculus, important tools in computer networking and communications include the following: Linear algebra. Probability and statistics.

How quickly can I learn networking? ›

The Computer Networking certificate program can be completed in 60 weeks. This is a great and quick way for students to get the skills required for entry-level positions. Most students choose the Associate of Science in Computer Networking program which takes approximately two years to complete.

How do I prepare for a computer network interview? ›

  1. Write an Interview Experience.
  2. Layers of OSI Model.
  3. TCP/IP Model.
  4. Basics of Computer Networking.
  5. Caesar Cipher in Cryptography.
  6. Network Devices (Hub, Repeater, Bridge, Switch, Router, Gateways and Brouter)
  7. TCP Server-Client implementation in C.
  8. RSA Algorithm in Cryptography.
Nov 4, 2022

What are the 3 P's of networking? ›

Misner to discuss the 3 Ps of a powerful network: Make relationships Personal. Get beyond what your competitors know about your connections. Keep details Private.

What are the 4 critical steps of networking? ›

7.1 The Four Stages of Networking
  • Research.
  • The approach.
  • The follow-up.
  • The request.

What are the 7 practical steps for networking? ›

Here's 7 Steps to Networking Effectively:
  • Networking is about contact. It's eye contact, face-to-face contact, phone contact, e-mail contact. ...
  • Be the one to initiate. Keep your eyes and ears open to prospects. ...
  • Be bold. ...
  • Anticipate discomfort. ...
  • Expect acceptance. ...
  • Pass it on. ...
  • Always respond.
Sep 12, 2017

What Ethernet means? ›

Ethernet is the traditional technology for connecting devices in a wired local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN). It enables devices to communicate with each other via a protocol, which is a set of rules or common network language.

What are 7 pieces of hardware that are used to build a network? ›

Router, Network cards, Cable, Hub, Bridge, Switch, Modem. There are seven main devices that are used to build a network.

What are the top 5 tips for networking? ›

10 networking tips that will work for anyone
  • Be prepared. Fail to plan and you plan to fail. ...
  • Set yourself a target. A networking event is not a social gathering – you are there to achieve something. ...
  • Don't have a set agenda. ...
  • Be a good guest. ...
  • Talk and listen. ...
  • Give referrals. ...
  • Take two business cards. ...
  • Time management.
Sep 19, 2022

What are some networking questions? ›

Networking: Questions to Ask
  • What are your primary job responsibilities?
  • What experience did you have to get your job?
  • How long have you worked here?
  • What is your own background and experience?
  • What is a typical work day like?
  • How long is your work day?
  • How much variety is there in your work?

How do you prepare for networking questions? ›

To make professional networking a bit more fun, personal, and memorable, ask some of these casual questions to get to know those around you:
  1. What brings you here?
  2. What are you most excited about attending this event?
  3. What made you choose your field?
  4. Do you like what you do?
  5. What do you like doing outside of work?
Feb 9, 2023

What are the 4 main components of a network? ›

A network has 5 basic components viz. clients, servers, channels, interface devices and operating systems.

What are the 3 elements of a computer network? ›

Basic elements of a computer network include hardware, software, and protocols. The interrelationship of these basic elements constitutes the infrastructure of the network.

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers and answers? ›

Answers to 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions
  • What Are Your Weaknesses? ...
  • Why Should We Hire You? ...
  • Why Do You Want to Work Here? ...
  • What Are Your Goals? ...
  • Why Did You Leave (or Why Are You Leaving) Your Job? ...
  • When Were You Most Satisfied in Your Job? ...
  • What Can You Do for Us That Other Candidates Can't?

What are 3 examples of networking? ›

Let us give some remarkable examples of networks and briefly explain why they deserve attention:
  • The World Wide Web. ...
  • The Internet. ...
  • Powerline and airline networks. ...
  • Citation networks. ...
  • Language networks. ...
  • Food webs. ...
  • Economic networks. ...
  • Metabolic and protein networks.

What are 10 good interview questions and answers? ›

50+ most common job interview questions
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Walk me through your resume.
  • How did you hear about this position?
  • Why do you want to work at this company?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What can you bring to the company?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
Jan 4, 2023

What are 2 devices used in networking? ›

Here is the common network device list:
  • Hub.
  • Switch.
  • Router.
  • Bridge.
  • Gateway.
  • Modem.
  • Repeater.
  • Access Point.
Jan 8, 2019

What does mean by IP? ›

IP stands for "Internet Protocol," which is the set of rules governing the format of data sent via the internet or local network. In essence, IP addresses are the identifier that allows information to be sent between devices on a network: they contain location information and make devices accessible for communication.

What are the two 2 main types of networks? ›

Two very common types of networks include:
  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Wide Area Network (WAN)

What are the six most powerful words in networking? ›

Once you engage in conversation, the best strategy is to employ the six most important words in networking: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.

What are excellent networking skills? ›

Some of the most important networking skills for 2023 include active listening, communication, confidence, positivity, and public speaking. Being aware of your body language, preparing a safety net, and asking open-ended questions are among the most useful tips to improve your networking.


1. Intro to Computer Networks - Crash Course
2. Introduction to Computer Networking
(Anand Seetharam)
3. Computer Networking Tutorial for Beginners & Basics Network Fundamentals
(Maddy’s World)
4. Introduction to Computer Networks
(Neso Academy)
(Sundeep Saradhi Kanthety)
6. Networking tutorial for beginners, 1, Introduction to Computer Networks basics lecture
(ifactner English)


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