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I-Series Computing Concepts
Stephen Haag, University of Denver
Maeve Cummings, Pittsburg State University
Alan I Rea, Jr., Western Michigan University

Nuts And Bolts Of Networks And Computers


Businesses today rely heavily on networking to build and keep competitive advantage. Networks allow information to be shared internally and with customers and suppliers. Not only that, but networks allow companies to buy and sell online.

It's not only businesses that can use the power of a computer network. You can too. If you have two or more computers at home, you may find it very useful to connect them together. For example a network allows you to

  • share files between computers. You can pass spreadsheet files, word processing files, picture files, and so on back and forth.
  • share a single broadband Internet connection.
  • share printers (or scanners or other devices) between computer. This could mean that you could buy a better quality printer and share it rather than buy two less pricey printers.
  • play multi-player games in a social setting (called LAN parties).

The most popular type of networking technology is Ethernet. Ethernet is a standard which specifies rules about how hardware should be built and software should be developed to allow computers to share information.

Along with Ethernet you can also employ wireless technology . The most popular wireless system is WiFi which was developed for business, but is widely used in home networks too. IrDA (Infrared Direct Access) is another standard and is used almost exclusively to share files between handheld computers and laptops. IrDA has also been used to send information to wireless printers from laptops, but was never really popular.

Wireless Devices

Apart from wireless printers and handheld PDAs , there are various other wireless devices available. Following are some examples.

Linksys Instant Wireless PrintServer WPS11

  • allows you to access you printer anywhere within the range of your wireless network access.
  • small blue box (8.5"x5.9"x1.2").
  • includes a parallel printer port
  • includes an Ethernet connection.
  • has a 5-inch antenna.
  • LinkSys

AirSpeak Flair Tablet PC

  • is a tablet device that allows wireless access to a desktop computer or network.
  • is based on WiFi.
  • has TFT screen with 1024x768 resolution.
  • weighs 4 pounds.
  • is 10.4"x13.1"x1.6".
  • incorporates USB, IrDA, and VGA ports.
  • has a microphone and audio jacks.
  • AirSpeak Inc

Interlink Electronics FreeBeam Wireless Whiteboard

  • allows the capture of writing on a whiteboard and transmission of the image to a PC. Marks made on the whiteboard instantly appear on the computer screen.
  • is great for brainstorming sessions and meetings.
  • includes a whiteboard pod (like a gamepad) a wireless signal receiver, four dry-erase markers, and 10 lithium batteries
  • allows modifying of the images later on the the PC.
  • Interlink Electronics

Motorola imeport P280 and VoiceStream Wireless iStream

  • new standard for wireless phones.
  • has Web access capability.
  • faster than CMDA and GSM (traditional cell phone standards).
  • has 1.6" 6-line monochrome display.
  • comes with keypad and four-way joystick.
  • has phonebook and date book.
  • allows access to e-mail.
  • Motorola
  • VoiceStream Wireless Corp .

There's lots more information available on wireless devices and networks. Here are a very few of the resources you can use.