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Ever since the days of the Pony Express people have looked to getting information whether personal or business to its intended receiver as soon as possible The computer has evolved as a communications super-tool enabling people to do just that Networking has given individuals the power to transfer ideas reports and files quickly and efficiently Networks also grant the power to business professionals and families to conference with voice and video from their individual offices or homes These abilities have made networking invaluable to many people in many different areas however networking can be limited to a small geographic region or even a single building and still have tremendous benefits A Local Area Network LAN is a network of interconnected workstations sharing the resources of a single processor or server within a relatively small geographic area LANs can be found in offices schools throughout whole buildings and even dispersed throughout several buildings Throughout these local networks people are able to share files of information communicate and connect different departments to maximize efficiency A LAN is comprised of several pieces of hardware that enable connectivity of the network these include network interface cards servers bridges repeaters and hubs A LAN can be comprised of all of these parts and more but can also be constructed of less hardware The hardware components of a specific network depend on the needs of the network A network interface card physically connects a computer to a transmission medium used on a network and controls the flow of information from the computer to the network A network interface card has its own unique hardware address that is embedded upon its manufacturing The hardware address is used to identify each NIC when information is being sent or received over a network These cards are installed directly into the expansions slots of a computer and in the case of portable computers require a specialized device called a network adapter Network interface
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