Computer Networking Guide For Beginners – Networking Basics and Fundamentals

Networking is how information between two or more connections is exchanged. For example the The WiFi internet that you use at home is a local area network (LAN) which allows information to be sent over the internet. This networking guide is for beginners which covers networking basics and fundamentals.

Computer networking


A client is a device that requests information from a server such as a web server. A client can be a host but is not a server, it is only a device such as a computer.


A server such as a web server sends information to a client that requests it. A server is not a client.


A host is any device or node on a network such as a server or a device.

Local Area Network (LAN)

As stated above, a LAN is a local area network such as the WiFi connection in your home or the WiFi connection at a coffee shop. This kind of network is limited to only a certain area.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

A wide area network covers a lot more distance. For example the internet itself is a WAN which is world wide. A mobile phone service network is also a WAN.


A hub is like an older outdated version of the switch. When data was sent from a computer it would be sent to all other computers on the network instead of sending it to one specific computer. Hubs are for the most part not used anymore.


A switch is a device that is often built into a router that allows the router to send data to specific devices. The switch is similar to a hub but is a lot smarter in how it sends data to devices.


A router is considered the gateway to the internet which allows your devices to connect through WiFi or Ethernet ports. This is the device that will be in a lot of peoples homes who have internet.

Wireless Access Point (WAP)

A wireless access point is a device that is often integrated into a router which allows WiFi devices to connect to the network. You can consider it the technical name for WiFi. It can also be a separate device which can be referred to as a WiFi extender.

IP Address

A computer uses an IP address so that information on the internet knows where to be sent. IP addresses are similar to house addresses but usually not as specific and only give a general location.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol assigns IP addresses to devices that allow them to to connect to the internet. Most IP addresses will remain the same for a while but it depends on the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Media Access Control Address (MAC Address)

A MAC address is the physical address of a device which is used to send data from the internet to the specific device unlike the IP address which is used to transfer data from one connection to another. Another difference is that a MAC address is assigned at the time the device was manufactured unlike an IP address which is a dynamic address assigned when you connect to the internet.


A firewall is a layer between a device and the internet which filters incoming and outgoing traffic. Firewalls are a big part of online security and can also be adjusted to only allow certain data to be received.


Ports are part of a firewall which allow different types of data to be received or rejected. 0 to 1,023 are the most commonly used ports even though there is a total of 65,535 for both TCP and UDP. TCP and UDP are basically two different types of connections that are used depending on what kind of data is being sent.


Ethernet is the wiring that is used between devices such as routers, switches, and modems on a local area network (LAN). A cable that connects a device to the internet using a switch usually installed within a router is an Ethernet cable.


All of this is important to know if you want to advance within networking. More posts will be coming soon. Also check out how to protect yourself online and the different types of malware and what they are used for










Author: Craig Perez

I post about technology and other topics.

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