9 Computer Networking Terms to Know Before You Start Training

computer networking trainingIf you've set your sights on an IT career, and are getting ready to start computer networking training, you probably already have some natural IT skills.

We're willing to bet that you're the one friends and family call to set up their new laptops, gaming systems, and software. And when things break down, you're the go-to trouble-shooter.

This is actually a great foundation for the kinds of concepts and hands-on skills you'll learn in networking training.

Being comfortable around common operating systems, and knowing your way around software and hardware, give you an excellent head start in any technology diploma program.

Think you've got the basics under control? We challenge you to test your knowledge.

These 9 computer networking terms are just a little taste of what's coming your way at college this year...

1. Network Administrator

In a nutshell, a network administrator is responsible for keeping an organization's network up-to-date, protected, and running smoothly. This sounds simple, but it's not.

Network administrators are responsible for a wide range of tasks, including:

  • installing and optimizing the network
  • performing regular updates
  • managing servers, desktop, and mobile equipment
  • managing network security
  • organizing hardware and software upgrades
  • providing technical support to users
  • resolving bugs and other technical problems
  • creating network documentation

This is the job many students are hoping to land after computer networking training.

Chances are, you'd start off as a network technician, junior administrator, or helpdesk analyst—and with experience, work your way up into a senior network administrator position.

Related: 4 Reasons to Choose a Network Administration Career

2. Computer Architecture

When people use the term "computer architecture," they're referring to the systems and components that come together to form a computer system or platform.

We're talking about elements like the microprocessor, memory, input/output devices, chipsets, and power supply. One of the first things you'll learn in computer networking courses is how to identify and understand each piece of computer architecture.

You'll practice assembling a microcomputer from parts, install various operating systems and utilities, and troubleshoot common problems.

3. Peripherals

What are some of the most common computer peripherals we use every day? You're probably thinking printer, mouse, or keyboard. And you'd be right!

However, there are a number of additional peripherals you'll learn how to install, configure and troubleshoot in computer networking training.

Your courses will include detailed instruction on disk drives, CD-ROM drives, scanners, sound cards, network cards, video cards, and scanners.  You'll learn the difference between input, output, and card-type peripherals.

You'll walk through how to install all of these items, explore common problems, and master steps for resolving technical issues related to each peripheral.

These are essential skills for every network technician or administrator.

4. Peer-to-peer Networks

Peer-to-peer (P2P) networks are computer systems that are connected to one another via the internet. This network of computers can share files, folders, and other resources without going through a central server.

Smaller offices often use this type of configuration.

On the opposite side, you've got client/server networks. Client/server networks use a central, powerful server, to which all the personal computers and laptops must connect to access data.

You'll learn about the differences, pros, cons and uses of these two types of networks during your training.

5. Computer Network Optimization

Once you become a network administrator or specialist, optimization will be an important part of your job.

You will be expected to figure out ways to make your network perform more efficiently, without increasing costs or sacrificing on security. Network optimization includes activities like:

  • traffic shaping
  • redundant data elimination
  • data caching
  • data compression
  • streamlining of data protocols

Optimized networks have faster data transfers, better disaster recover capabilities, reduced bandwidth expenses, faster network speeds between remote locations, and improved performance of applications.

Your computer networking training will include courses on how to analyze a network, and make improvements, based on a set of criteria or goals.

By the time you graduate, you'll be ready to help organizations optimize their networks by reducing costs and improving overall efficiency (a highly valued skill!)

6. LAN versus WAN

A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and network devices that are grouped together, usually within the same building—like an office, school, or home.

By contrast, a wide area network (WAN) is used to connect LANs in different locations—like a corporation that has offices in various cities across the globe, and needs those networks to talk to each other.

WANs span cities, countries, and continents. They help branches of an organization connect to one another and share official data. You'll learn how to manage both types of networks during training.

7. Enterprise Network

An enterprise network is a LAN used by a large company. Or, it could be a WAN that connects branches of a large company that are set up in different cities.

These are complex structures. An enterprise network will consist of many systems, computers, and devices—all of which must work together seamlessly as the communications backbone of the organization.

When you study enterprise-level networks, you'll be learning about cloud storage, firewalls, electronic mail services, advanced security features, and more.

8. Routers and Switches

When defining routers and switches, Cisco keeps it simple. They say:

"Switches create a network. Routers connect networks. The two pieces of equipment look similar and perform some similar functions, but each has its own distinct function to perform on a network."

These are basic fundamentals of computer networking. A router is a small electronic device used to link multiple computer networks together—via wired or wireless connections.

A switch uses packet switching to receive, process, and forward data to the destination device. You'll dig into these terms much deeper during networking training, which will cover the material you'll need to challenge the CISCO CCENT exam (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician).

9. Virtualization

Virtualization is becoming increasingly important in computer networking. It involves creating a virtual, (versus an actual) version of something—like a server, operating system, or storage device.

For example, we can use virtualization technology to run multiple operating systems on a single piece of hardware.  So, what's the ultimate goal in terms of networking?

We want to use virtualization to create virtual networks than are "de-coupled" from the underlying network hardware. This helps the network better integrate with and support increasingly virtual environments.

Sound complex? You'll learn much more about how virtualization works in class, when you study enterprise-level networking.

And there you have it. Nine essential terms to kick-off your computer networking training. Were some of these concepts new to you? Already familiar with most?

It doesn't matter where you're starting from. You'll find a quality networking program is challenging, motivating, and above all, relevant to the skills employers want most.

Haven't picked a program yet? Still looking for a top-rated network administrator college in Montreal?

Click below to explore Herzing's Microcomputer & Networking Systems Technology Program. See a detailed list of courses, chat live with an Admissions Advisor, and learn how to apply. We're here to help!


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