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What is a Network Configuration?

Cat5 cable for use with a network.
A router is often part of a network configuration.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 March 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A network configuration is the overall design of some type of communications network. As part of this configuration, both software and hardware are arranged in a manner that allows for optimum efficiency with the process of transmitting voice, audio, and data between two or more points. A network configuration may be local and somewhat contained, or involve a collection of locations or nodes that are found across the country, or even across the world.

All network configuration approaches require the presence of various forms of hardware and software. The hardware serves as the frame for the network, effectively creating the basis for the overall structure. Software applications that are compatible with one another and with the hardware are uploaded and installed, an action that initiates activity on the network, allowing for the efficient storage and retrieval of all types of data.

There are a number of different types of networks, with each one requiring some type of organization or network configuration in order to function properly. For example, a local network within a small office will include telephone equipment to allow voice communications, cable feeds to provide Internet connectivity for voice, visual, and data exchanges, and at least one server to help coordinate and process all the functions associated with the network. Along with the server, desktop computers, various types of wireless devices, and backup equipment such as a secondary server are also common components on this basic network configuration.

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The same general approach is taken to home network configuration. Here the network may be composed of a master computer that functions as the main point of activity on the network. Ancillary hardware such as printers and external drives may also be included in the overall network setup. Today, many of these configurations include wireless modems that make it possible to share a single high speed connection to the Internet with laptops and other wireless devices within a limited range of the master station.

Large corporations often require a computer network configuration that allows multiple locations to interact as one large network. One common approach to this type of setup is to use various forms of hardware and software to create a main network at the corporate headquarters, and allow the remote locations to connect via a wireless or wired Internet connection to this main network. With a configuration of this nature, the remote sites can function fully on their own, while also transmitting and receiving data from the main network on an as-needed basis.

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Discuss this Article

hamje32
Post 2

@Charred - Our small business is networked. This not only includes obvious items like computers, printers and fax machines, but also hardware in the backbone of the business. We have one big server that is set up for our developers and it’s supported with redundant backups for extra security.

I don’t know anything about server network configuration myself but we have an administrator and he’s a real pro at setting the system up. He is also responsible for running batch jobs on it and things like that.

The server sits in its own room, complete with cooling fans and stuff. We call it the beast.

Charred
Post 1

I have a wireless home network set up, with a variety of peripherals. What’s neat is that even some of these peripherals are wireless too. I have a wireless printer in my office for example.

I can be sitting in some other part of the house with my laptop and print off a document to the office printer. It’s very convenient.

There’s some network printer configuration that you have to do to make it work properly but it’s quite simple. The one thing I’ll tell you is that if you set up wireless peripherals in your home network then you will need to secure those peripherals too, just like you do with your computer.

The network configuration software will show you how to do that. It’s an important step, because hackers can break into any device in the wireless network, not just the computer.

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