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Networking Frequently Asked Questions

March 3, 2022
Read Time 4 mins

At its simplest level, networking is a way of transporting and exchanging data between workstations – or nodes – over a shared medium within an internal IT system. A good network solution entails the design and construction of a network, as well as the management, maintenance and operation of the infrastructure on an ongoing basis. In this article, we take a look at the most frequently asked questions about networking solutions. 

Covered In This Article

What Are The Four Types Of Networking?
What Is Computer Networking?
What Networking Hardware Solutions Are There?
What Is A Network Topology?
What Is Network Performance?
How Is Computer Networking Evolving?
How Can Tarsus Distribution Help Me With Networking?

What Are The Four Types Of Networking?

A computer network, also referred to as a data network, is a series of interconnected nodes that can transmit, receive and exchange data, voice and video traffic. Examples of nodes in a network include servers or modems. Computer networks commonly help endpoint users share resources and communicate. They commonly appear all over the place, such as homes, offices and government administrations. The use of computer networks can overcome geographic barriers and enable the sharing of information. Computer networks enable the usage and sharing of any number of applications and services, including emails, video, audio and plenty of other types of data, over the internet.


A wide area network (WAN) is a large computer network that connects groups of computers over large distances. WANs are often used by large businesses to connect their office networks; each office typically has its own local area network or LAN, and these LANs are connected via a WAN.


A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a computer network that connects computers within a metropolitan area, which could be a single large city, multiple cities and towns, or any given large area with multiple buildings. A MAN is larger than a local area network (LAN) but smaller than a wide area network (WAN).


A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and peripheral devices that share a common communications line or wireless link to a server within a distinct geographic area. A local area network may serve as few as two or three users in a home office or thousands of users in a corporation's central office.


A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network for interconnecting electronic devices within an individual person's workspace. A PAN provides data transmission among devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets and personal digital assistants.

What Is Computer Networking?

Computer networking refers to connected computing devices (such as laptops, desktops, servers, smartphones, and tablets) and an ever-expanding array of IoT devices (such as cameras, door locks, doorbells, refrigerators, audio/visual systems, thermostats, and various sensors) that communicate with one another.

What Networking Hardware Solutions Are There?

Computers need networking hardware in order to connect to each other. Routers, hubs, switches and bridges are all pieces of networking equipment that can perform slightly different tasks. A router can often incorporate hubs, switches and wireless access within the same hardware.


A router is a device that connects two or more packet-switched networks or subnetworks. It serves two primary functions: managing traffic between these networks by forwarding data packets to their intended IP addresses and allowing multiple devices to use the same Internet connection.


Your modem is a box that connects your home or network to the wider Internet. A modem modulates and demodulates electrical signals sent through phone lines, coaxial cables, or other types of wiring. In other words, it transforms digital information from your computer into analog signals that can transmit over wires. It can translate incoming analog signals back into digital data that your computer can understand. Most stand-alone modems have just two ports: one that connects to the outside world, and an Ethernet jack that connects to a computer or a router.

Hubs, bridges and switches

Hubs, bridges and switches are all network connecting devices. A network connecting device is a device that connects two or more devices together that are present in the same or different networks. A network connecting device can be a repeater, hub, bridge, switch, router, or gateway. But in this blog, we'll focus on hubs, switches, routers, and gateways. We'll also learn about their features, advantages, and disadvantages in networking. All these connecting devices operate in some specific layers of the OSI (Open System Interconnection) Model.

What Is A Network Topology?

Network topology refers to the manner in which the links and nodes of a network are arranged to relate to each other. Topologies are categorised as either physical network topology, which is the physical signal transmission medium, or logical network topology, which refers to the manner in which data travels through the network between devices, independent of the physical connection of the devices. Logical network topology examples include twisted-pair Ethernet, which is categorised as a logical bus topology, and token ring, which is categorised as a logical ring topology.

Physical network topology examples include star, mesh, tree, ring, point-to-point, circular, hybrid, and bus topology networks, each consisting of different configurations of nodes and links. The ideal network topology depends on each business’s size, scale, goals, and budget. A network topology diagram helps visualise the communicating devices, which are modelled as nodes, and the connections between the devices, which are modelled as links between the nodes.

What Is Network Performance?

Network performance is the analysis and review of collective network statistics, to define the quality of services offered by the underlying computer network. It is a qualitative and quantitative process that measures and defines the performance level of a given network. It guides a network administrator in the review, measure and improvement of network services.

How Is Computer Networking Evolving?

Modern-day networks deliver more than connectivity. Organisations are embarking on transforming themselves digitally. Their networks are critical to this transformation and to their success. The types of network architectures that are evolving to meet these needs are as follows:

  • Software-defined  (SDN): In response to new requirements in the "digital" age, network architecture is becoming more programmable, automated, and open. In software-defined networks, the routing of traffic is controlled centrally through software-based mechanisms. This helps the network to react quickly to changing conditions.
  • Intent-based: Building on SDN principles, intent-based networking (IBN) not only introduces agility but also sets up a network to achieve desired objectives by automating operations extensively, analysing its performance, pinpointing problematic areas, providing all-around security, and integrating with business processes.
  • Virtualised: The underlying physical network infrastructure can be partitioned logically, to create multiple "overlay" networks. Each of these logical networks can be tuned to meet specific security, quality-of-service (QoS), and other requirements.
  • Controller-based: Network controllers are crucial to scaling and securing networks. Controllers automate networking functions by translating business intent to device configurations, and they monitor devices continuously to help ensure performance and security. Controllers simplify operations and help organisations respond to changing business requirements.
  • Multidomain integrations: Larger enterprises may construct separate networks, also called networking domains, for their offices, WANs, and data centres. These networks communicate with one another through their controllers. Such cross-network or multidomain, integrations generally involve exchanging relevant operating parameters to help ensure that desired business outcomes that span network domains are achieved.

How Can Tarsus Distribution Help Me With Networking?

Tarsus Distribution, South Africa’s oldest technology distribution company, provides industry-leading, scalable networking solutions for a wide variety of industries and applications. Networking is an essential component in the IT infrastructure of any organisation and Tarsus Distribution excels in designing custom network solutions to suit the needs of each customer.

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