Networking is a large subject to
comprehend so it is best to break it down into a
couple of areas. First, we are talking about data
networking rather than phone type networking. VoIP(Voice
over Internet Protocol) is considered data networking
as well, but for this discussion lets just take
two major types; LAN and WAN networking.
The LAN networking is easier for
most people to comprehend right off the bat. Ethernet
technologies are by far the most previlent type
of LAN networking. There are some other types, but
for a general understanding, it is best to just
stick with this. Really, we are talking about the
connectivity "stuff" that makes it work
together. Specifically with Ethernet we are talking
about switches. Switches have come down in price
so much that we don't typically even acknowledge
hubs anymore, but they "could" be a part
of a network solution. Switches are inheirantly
better for Ethernet networks than hubs.
There is a lot of "talking"
on the wire than most people realize nowdays. "Managed"
Ethernet switches give you more control over all
this "talking" on the network. Talking
between devices on a network, like a laptop to a
server, is done with something called protocols.
Protocols are like human language. If you and your
friend both speak French, then you can communicate.
If one person speaks French and the other person
speaks English, then you can't communicate. The
switch is like a room full of people speaking languages.
A managed switch is like a room full of people speaking
languages with a moderator controlling the conversations.