A computer network, often simply referred to as “network“, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of data and resources. In a network, at least one process in one device is able to send and receive data to and from at least one process residing in a remote device, then the two devices are said to be in a network.
What makes a computer network for business different than home or other network?
A home network is a residential Local Area Network (LAN) which is used for communication between computing devices typically installed or used in the home. It is usually comprised of a small number of personal computers and devices, such as printers, tablets and mobile phones. An important function is the sharing of Internet access, often a broadband service through a cable or a digital subscriber provider.
Business network can fall into any of these categories:
- Storage Area Network
A SAN is a dedicated network that provides access to consolidated, block level data storage; it typically has its own network of storage devices that are generally not accessible through the local area network by other devices.
- Campus Network
A Campus Network s a computer network made up of an interconnection of LANs within a limited geographical area.
- Backbone Network
A Backbone Network is part of a computer network infrastructure that interconnects various pieces of network, providing a path for the exchange of information between different LANs or sub- networks.
- Metropolitan Area Network
A MAN is a large computer network that usually spans a city or a large campus.
- Wide Area Network
A WAN is a computer network that covers a large geographic area such as a city, country, or spans even intercontinental distances, using a communications channel that combines many types of media such as telephone lines, cables, and air waves.
- Enterprise Private Network
An EPN is a network built by an enterprise to interconnect various company sites, e.g., production sites, head offices, remote offices, shops, in order to share computer resources.
- Virtual Private Network
A VPN is a computer network in which some of the links between nodes are carried by open connections or virtual circuits in some larger network (e.g., the Internet) instead of by physical wires.
An Internetwork is the connection of multiple computer networks via a common routing technology using routers.
Computer network for business is a mission-critical component to any company – and it usually carries mission-critical programs and data vital to the company’s day-to-day operations. What if your computer network disappeared tomorrow? Would you still be able to do business as usual? Would your employees operate and perform their duties to the fullest of their job descriptions?
Unlike home network, business computer networks are subjects to rules and regulations – for example, doctor’s office has to be HIPAA compliant and if it is not, it may be subject to OCR’s enforcement activities.
Computer Networks for business also have different standards when it comes to privacy rights of computers – and requirements for multiple authentication levels and data storing needs. When considering the rights between employees and employers regarding internet privacy and protection at a company, different states have their own laws. By the way, did you know that, New Jersey offers greater privacy rights to computer users than most federal courts? (State v. Reid)
Home networks typically do not require a server, while most of businesses do. In addition, mail servers – such as Microsoft Exchange – are being utilized almost exclusively in the business network environment, although in the recent years cloud solutions – such as Hosted Exchange – are beginning to gain preference among small and medium sized businesses.
In addition, business networks are more unified in terms of hardware and software, while home networks may have to deal with various different hardware, software, operating systems and devices, making communication protocols more difficult to fulfill.