A computer network is a type of telecommunications network between data processing nodes for the purpose of data communications. It is a communications network in which the end points are computers. The interconnection of computers is accomplished with a variety of networking hardware.
Two devices are said to be networked, when a process in one device is able to exchange information with a process in another device. Networks may be classified by various characteristics, such as the media used to transmit signals, the communications protocols used to organize network traffic, network scale, network topology, benefits, and organizational scope. The best known computer network is the Internet.
Communication protocols define the rules and data formats for exchanging information in a computer network. Well-known communications protocols include Ethernet, a hardware and link layer standard that is widely used for local area networks, and the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP), which defines a set of protocols for communication between multiple networks, for host-to-host data transfer, and for application-specific data transmission formats. Protocols provide the basis for network programming.
Computer networking may be considered a branch of electrical engineering, telecommunications, computer science, information technology or computer engineering, since it relies upon the theoretical and practical application of the related disciplines.
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