|MadSci Network: Computer Science|
Hi - good question. A network is a network is a network. All networks transmit data, across a network. They transmit data using "protocols" - there are several different ones, the one most often used for internet networks is TCP/IP. TCP/IP allows each station in a network to transmit and receive data. these networks can be assembled over wires or wirelessly. but using wires can be over "standard" network wires (known as CAT5), or using some nifty technlogy, over phone lines, power lines, maybe one day over plain household string ;-) anyway, each device on a TCP/IP network has its own IP address, so it can be communicated to uniquely. think of it like a phone line, everyone has their own number, otherwise it would be chaos - same thing for networks. if each device in a house had its own address, you could send it commands or access it directly, without confusion as to which device you'd be controlling. every lamp, fridge, or garage door opener would have its own IP address. a few add-ons: 1) linksys has a nice home network primer : http://www.linksys.com/edu/ 2) http://www.practicallynetworked.com/ - very good read. 3) IPv4 vs. IPv6. currently, we use IPv4... but we will run out of unique IP addresses down the road. so some smart folks have created IPv6 - which gives us enough IP addresses for every device we could ever want to hook to the network. Hope this helps, feel free to get in touch or follow-up. Ben
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