When we use the term Networking, its most frequent use these days is networking with your peers, clients and suppliers as a means of improving our contacts, our business links in the hope of achieving better trading, turnover and profit. Such networking opportunities can include membership of Business Enterprise Centres, local business and traders’ associations, and attending business breakfasts, where exchanging business cards is ‘de rigueur.’

Those of us in the IT Industry have for years referred to networking in our environment as the physical network made up of hardware and software components which enables devices to talk to each other. Networking in this regard is based around what’s known as the OSI Model. The OSI, or Open System Interconnection model, defines a networking framework for implementing protocols in seven layers. Control is passed from one layer to the next, starting at the application layer in one station, proceeding to the bottom layer, over the channel to the next station and back up the hierarchy. Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_model for a fuller explanation.

In our current world, we rely on data networking in all its forms (including various forms of social media) for fast communications. We feel we need everything instantly. Our telephones, computers and increasingly televisions are part of the data networks that pervade our life.

Within our own homes, increasingly it is becoming common to have a mix of wired and wireless networks to link Internet ADSL routers, computers, printers, Voice over IP (VOIP) adapters, televisions, NAS (network attached storage), video streaming, and online streaming radio channel devices. Now our homes have their own LAN (local area network).

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