Networking: A 21st Century Necessity
With the advent of a larger, more global market and the expansion of the average person's social network (including the amount of time that we spend mingling in various places), technology has both played a part in this growth and yet been forced to keep pace with it as well. The reason why most of us are able to live the way we do and multitask with the efficiency that is expected of people today is because of networking.
Now, networking has multiple definitions. There's "social" networking, which is the general business of just meeting people and getting to know them. But for our purposes, we're going to focus on the tangible, "hard" definition of networking. The simplest definition is using an electronic device to communicate with someone. Send an e-mail or text message today? Call someone up on the phone? You were networking when you partook in those activities. And to navigate today's high tech world, you need to understand the different types of networks, both how they work and what purposes they serve.
There are many different kinds of networks, most of which are computer based. A home network is when several computers are hooked up via a telecommunications system (called a router, which directs online traffic.) There are two primary categories of home networks: LAN (Local Area Network), which is when the computers are connected to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) with physical wires. The other is a wireless network, which is when a wireless router (which performs the same function as a router but is still a different piece of hardware) connects the computers to your ISP without wires.
And one network isn't necessarily superior to another one. The strength of your internet connection is not determined by the type of network you use, but by your ISP. So then this raises the question: Well, how do I determine which network is for me? The answer to this is simple: It is determined by your needs.
What do you use your computer for? Do you work from home or play the latest computer games? That means your probably using a desktop computer (a computer that needs a large power source, like a wall outlet.) In that case, a LAN is much more suited to your needs. And though it is possible to configure them for wireless network usage, desktops work much better when they're plugged into the Internet.
But if you're just a casual computer user (someone who just uses their computer to send e-mails, listen to music - all very non-demanding tasks), than a wireless network is ideal for you. It allows you the mobility to move around your house freely, without being anchored to one spot. The one thing to keep in mind with a wireless network is that you need to keep them secure, as they do not come that way by default and are susceptible to intrusion if not monitored and maintained.
With all this information, hopefully you will be able to make an informed choice about how you want to connect to the world.