Networking, a notion that no one can ignore

“The entire population of the world are now all interconnected all the time,” writes Jordan News columnist Jean-Claude Elias. (Photo: Pexels)
We use it every day, all the time. We talk about it at length, and we know that today’s world would come to a standstill if it stopped or would fail. But we do not necessarily understand its meaning, its full implications, or how exactly it works. It is the network.اضافة اعلان

“There’s no network” or “the network is down” are words that are dreaded and that we hate to hear or say, though the consequences of such situations would vary from mildly annoying (“I can’t watch the funny Youtube link my cousin sent me on Whatsapp”) to real mayhem (“The email service is completely down in the entire Middle East zone”).

The first word that comes to our mind after we say “network”, when speaking about computers and smartphones, is the internet. It is, of course, the core of it all. But the notion of networking in digital technology is even broader, for it covers devices that are interconnected in various ways, not necessarily via the internet.

This is the case for example of local devices, like within a large corporation, and that are interconnected to server computers physically located on the premises, and then between them all, even in the absence of internet connectivity.

Networking is a scientific concept that is essentially based on advanced mathematics, is taught at college, and that also applies to large services distribution set ups like those for electricity and water grids. There is, naturally, no need for the user to understand the mathematics behind it, but to realize the similarity between all kinds of networks, and the impact on our daily life
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making networks even more critical. With IoT it is not only computers, smartphones, and tablets that are connected, but virtually any device that uses electricity and digital circuitry, and that can be fitted with wireless connectivity of some kind. The list includes surveillances cameras, smart watches, kitchen appliances, cars, smart TVs, audiovisual equipment, etc. It virtually has no limits. No one would be surprised to see, for instance, personal medical monitoring devices such as pacemakers or even prescription glasses connected to the network one day soon; the practical applications would be obvious and very beneficial.

The term IoT was first introduced circa 2000. Starting in 2010, a significant number of devices became IoTs, and the number has started to grow exponentially since 2018.

What the consumer must know about networking is to always to have in mind that we, the entire population of the world, are now all interconnected all the time. That this automatically implies caring about what we do, say, read, watch, upload, or download, including where we go! We should constantly be aware about what we are doing.

We should also realize to what extent this truly global networking is changing our habits. Take, for example, using Google Maps to go to somewhere. At first we used to use the service to get to new, hard to find, or remote places. Now that Google Maps also indicates where there is traffic congestion on the road, in real time, we use it to get there faster, even if it is to a familiar place where we often go.

Being aware of the importance of the network also means being ready and well equipped to make the best of it and to be prepared to deal with the unexpected. This starts with the basic “first things first” approach. Making sure hardware and software are up to date, well-maintained, and always charged (if wireless or mobile) may sound obvious, but it is all about discipline and sound organization; about being preemptive. Ensuring redundancy in cases where networking is critical also matters.

Users may choose to have one service provider for their main internet subscription, and another for their mobile phone subscription, for example. This provides extra security should one fail, since mobile telecommunications can also provide a separate internet route, temporarily, even if it may be a bit slower.

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