In today's business world, reliable and efficient access to information has become an important asset in the quest to achieve a competitive advantage. File cabinets and mountains of papers have given way to computers that store and manage information electronically.
Computer networking technologies are the glue that binds these elements together. Networking allows one computer to send information to and receive information from another. We can classify network technologies as belonging to one of two basic groups. Local area network (LAN) technologies connect many devices that are relatively close to each other, usually in the same building. The library terminals that display book information would connect over a local area network. Wide area network (WAN) technologies connect a smaller number of devices that can be many kilometers apart.
In comparison to WANs, LANs are faster and more reliable, but improvements in technology continue to blur the line of demarcation. Fiber optic cables have allowed LAN
technologies to connect devices tens of kilometers apart, while at the same time greatly
improving the speed and reliability of WANs.
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