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Networking FUNdamentals

Earth in a connected network

Computer Networks cover a lot of ground. Networks allow computers to talk to each other even when at opposite sides of the planet. To the electrical engineer the subject focusses on the hardware. For the computer scientist it is more about the algorithms that allow different computers to talk using that hardware in reliable, secure ways. Let's look at a couple of different aspects to give a flavour.

Networks that work for people

Creating a network that works is much more than getting the wires in the ground, putting the masts up and getting the packets from one place to the other. There are many different and important services a network must provide. Each builds on the lower level services that already exist. One important service is to provide ways to make sure that only the people you want to can read your communications (cryptography). Another is in making sure you don't send more data than you need to (data compression).

Some Brilliant Networking Fantasy

We recommend you read Terry PratchettÕs brilliant book 'Going Postal' for a fun fantasy about inventing and making money from networking technology on DiscWorld. Loads of computer scientists who've read any Terry Pratchett's books love them instantly even if they don't read much else.