written by: Senadheera Jayakody•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 2/28/2010
The ability to exchange data and communicate efficiently is the main purpose of networking computers. But we have to consider beyond these points to evaluate the feasibility of networking for our own advantages.
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A computer network can be identified as a group of computers that are interconnected for sharing data between them or their users. There is a wide variety of networks and their advantages and disadvantages mainly depend on the type of network.
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Advantages of Computer Networking
1. Easy Communication and Speed
It is very easy to communicate through a network. People can communicate efficiently using a network with a group of people. They can enjoy the benefit of emails, instant messaging, telephony, video conferencing, chat rooms, etc.
2. Ability to Share Files, Data and Information
This is one of the major advantages of networking computers. People can find and share information and data because of networking. This is beneficial for large organizations to maintain their data in an organized manner and facilitate access for desired people.
3. Sharing Hardware
Another important advantage of networking is the ability to share hardware. For an example, a printer can be shared among the users in a network so that there’s no need to have individual printers for each and every computer in the company. This will significantly reduce the cost of purchasing hardware.
4. Sharing Software
Users can share software within the network easily. Networkable versions of software are available at considerable savings compared to individually licensed version of the same software. Therefore large companies can reduce the cost of buying software by networking their computers.
Sensitive files and programs on a network can be password protected. Then those files can only be accessed by the authorized users. This is another important advantage of networking when there are concerns about security issues. Also each and every user has their own set of privileges to prevent them accessing restricted files and programs.
Sharing and transferring files within networks is very rapid, depending on the type of network. This will save time while maintaining the integrity of files.
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Disadvantages of Networking
1. Breakdowns and Possible Loss of Resources
One major disadvantage of networking is the breakdown of the whole network due to an issue of the server. Such breakdowns are frequent in networks causing losses of thousands of dollars each year. Therefore once established it is vital to maintain it properly to prevent such disastrous breakdowns. The worst scenario is such breakdowns may lead to loss of important data of the server.
2. Expensive to Build
Building a network is a serious business in many occasions, especially for large scale organizations. Cables and other hardware are very pricey to buy and replace.
3. Security Threats
Security threats are always problems with large networks. There are hackers who are trying to steal valuable data of large companies for their own benefit. So it is necessary to take utmost care to facilitate the required security measures.
4. Bandwidth Issues
In a network there are users who consume a lot more bandwidth than others. Because of this some other people may experience difficulties.
Although there are disadvantages to networking, it is a vital need in today’s environment. People need to access the Internet, communicate and share information and they can’t live without that. Therefore engineers need to find alternatives and improved technologies to overcome issues associated with networking. Therefore we can say that computer networking is always beneficial to have even if there are some drawbacks.