The advantages of networks

The following advantages are particularly true for LANs, although they apply to MANs and WANs as well.


Sharing of peripheral devices

Laser printers, disk drives, and scanners are examples of peripheral devices that is, hardware that is connected to a computer. Any newly introduced piece of hardware is often quite expensive, as was the case with laser or color printers. To justify their purchase, companies want them to be shared by many users. Usually the best way to do this is to connect the peripheral device to a network serving several computer users.


Sharing of programs and data

In most organizations, people use the same software and need access to the same information. It could be expensive for a company to buy a copy of, say, a word processing program for each employee. Rather, the company will usually buy a network version of that program that will serve many employees.

Organizations also save a great deal of money by letting all employees have access to the same data on a shared storage device.

This way the organization avoids such problems as some employees updating customer addresses on their own separate machines while other employees remain ignorant of such changes. It is much easier to update (maintain) software on the server than it is to update it on each user’s individual system.

Finally, network-linked employees can more easily work together online on shared projects, using a type of software known as groupware.


Better communications

One of the greatest features of networks is electronic mail. With e-mail everyone on a network can easily keep others posted about important information. Thus, the company eliminates the delays encountered with standard interoffice mail delivery or telephone tag.

Security of information

Before networks became commonplace, an individual employee might be the only one with a particular piece of information, stored in his or her desktop computer. If the employee was dismissed or if a fire or flood demolished the office no one else in the company might have any knowledge of that information. Today such data would be backed up or duplicated on a networked storage device shared by others.

Access to databases

Networks also enable users to tap into numerous databases, whether the private databases of a company or public databases available online through the Internet. This can give effective timely data.


This is merely a very basic introduction and we will dive deeply into details in the future.


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