Networking is the practice of linking computing devices together with hardware and software that supports data communications across these devices.In the world of computers, networking is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data. Networks are built with a mix of computer hardware and computer software
Networks can be categorized in several different ways. One approach defines the type of network according to the geographic area it spans. Local area networks (LANs) , for example, typically span a single home, school, or small office building, whereas wide area networks (WANs) , reach across cities, states, or even across the world. The Internet is the world’s largest public WAN.
Communication languages used by computer devices are called network protocol. Yet another way to classify computer networks is by the set of protocols they support. Networks often implement multiple protocols with each supporting specific applications. Popular protocols include TCP/IP, the most common protocol found on the Internet and in home networks.
While other types of networks are built and maintained by engineers, home networks belong to ordinary homeowners, people often with little or no technical background. Various manufacturers produce broadband router hardware designed to simplify home network setup. Home broadband routers allow devices in different rooms to efficiently share a broadband Internet connection, enable people to more easily share their files and printers within the network, and help with overall network security.
Home networks have increased in capability with each generation of new technology. Years ago, people commonly set up their home network just to connect a few PCs, share some documents and perhaps a printer. Now its common for households to also network game consoles, digital video recorders, and smartphones for streaming sound and video. Home automation systems have also existed for many years, but these too have grown in popularity more recently with practical systems for controlling lights, digital thermostats and appliances.