A topology is the general structure of a network. This term should not be confused with topography, which is the surveying of the surface features of a place.
In actuality, the two terms are relatively similar in spelling and nature. Maybe that's why I always get the two confused!
I received a goody box from Intel the other day. Where I work we carry Intel NICs and CAT5 cable in custom cut lengths, so I suppose they thought it was a good idea to introduce us to their PRO/Wireless 2011.
Intel had sent us two 11 Mbps PCMCIA cards... Oops. I forgot that we're calling them "PC Cards" now days. They sent a PCI carrier for one of the PC Cards, and one of the 2011 LAN Access Points, which looks like a cross between rabbit ears for a television set and Poo-Chi, the robotic dog.
Now before some of you nerds start to assume that this is some sort of a review of a wireless network kit, I'll have you know that I have no inclination in writing a review.
You want a review? Here's my review: Plug it in, turn it on, and if all of the PCs have a PRO/Wireless 2011 card in it, then everyone is online without any CAT5 or Coax. Imagine how easily LAN get togethers would be if everyone had one of these cards and the host of the party had an Access Point? Sweet, eh?
What I thought was funny is that I was the only one that volunteered to take the gizmo home. At home, I already have several networking gizmos and bringing home this little guy was sort of the icing on the cake... and thus, this week's edition of AGW. My own network topology appeared so grossly ridiculous to me, that inspired me to type up this quick little crash course on networks.
Most topologies look like this:
I'll take the time to break this down for you. The Internet comes into the house via a MODEM, Cable MODEM (which is more of a "reverse-MODEM" rather than your typical modem for dial up), DSL, ISDN or what have you. Now, if there is more than one computer on a network that needs to be attached to this single Internet connection, then a router is required. Essentially, a router is a bridge from one network to another and in my example; it's bridging an internal network to the Internet. A LAN to a WAN. Simple.
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