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How Networks Are Put Together

To repeat an important point, if we were to break down a network into its simplest components, these components would be identified as one of two categories. One is the physical network. It consists of the wiring or wireless medium; the network cards inside the computer that interface with the “plugs” on the computer; and, of course, the computers themselves (which might take the form of mail servers, file servers, and other machines discussed later). The other category is the logical part of the network. Usually implemented in software, it provides the means to build those parts of the network with which we “interface.” Examples are email, text messaging, web pages, videos, and the images on our computer screen. We introduce these components during this hour, and they are covered in more detail in coming hours.

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