One problem that I see with people today is that they are unaware what a computer network is. They might have heard of a computer network, but they are clueless as to how it works or why it works. People have basic questions that need to be answered. My goal is to give basic network information that will hopefully answer those questions.

To give people an understanding about computer networks there are several areas that I must focus on. I will give definitions of some network jargon. Many people may have heard or seen these words, but never knew what they meant. Another part that is important is the history of networking. By giving a brief history of networking, this will give the reader a good foundation to start on. They need to know how networking came around and why it is such a big part of our lives today. Also, I will explain why it is important to understand networking. I will then explain what a network is made up. There is a lot of confusing hardware in a network, but it is relatively simple. Finally, I will tie everything together and explain how the network works.


Before I go into detail about networking and all the hardware that networks are made up, I must define a few terms. I want people to know what a word means when they see it. Here are a few terms that I will have in my report as well as several other important ones. You can find these terms in the glossary of this report.


The next thing that I am going to talk about is the history of networking. I am going to tell how networking came about and who was the first to experiment with it. I will also show some statistics about the Internet and it\'s growth.

In the 1950s, there was no interaction between the users and their programs while they were running on the computers. No direct communications were involved. Jobs were brought to the machine to be run in a batch.


In the 1960s, time-sharing brought about the first interactive access to computers. This was a mix of data transmission technology and a teletypewriter. The result was an interactive terminal. These terminals were connected to a server with low-speed lines, allowing the users to interact with the computer and take advantage of its resources. Time-sharing gave multiple users the ability to use the computer at the same time, for completely separate tasks, and provided them with interactive feedback about what their programs were doing. Demand for the services of these large computers increased which meant upgrades had to be made frequently to keep the processing power ahead of the user need. These systems, called Mainframes, had been designed to provide computing power, but did not have the flexibility to satisfy the growing set of applications.


Also, in the 1960\'s the military used networks to communicate to one another. It worked like the time-sharing network. They needed this network to communicate between cities, bases, and states. There was also a concern about a nuclear war. If there was a nuclear war how would people communicate? There needed to be a network that would be able to work after a nuclear strike. They came up with a hot potato network. Basically the information would be tossed like a hot potato from user to user until it reached its destination. The actual route it took was not important. This meant that if big parts of the network were destroyed the message would try another route. As you can probable see this was not as efficient compared to the traditional telephone system.


During the 1970\'s and 1980\'s, networking was continuously being upgraded. Businesses, schools, and the government needed faster networking capabilities to handle all the people that were using the basic time-sharing network. In 1975, the first personal computer was marketed in kit form. This computer was called the Altair. The Altair features 256 bytes of memory. Bill Gates, with others, wrote a BASIC program for the machine so it could perform small tasks. The next year Apple began to market its PC\'s, also in kit form. It included a monitor and keyboard. In 1976, Queen Elizabeth