Network computing refers to the use of computers and other devices in a linked network, rather than as unconnected, stand-alone devices. As computing technology has progressed during the last few decades, network computing has become more frequent, especially with the creation of cheap and relatively simple consumer products such as wireless routers, which turn the typical home computer setup into a local area network.
In network computing, computers often share broadband and other resources. Many larger business networks also share hard drive space, where any networked computer has access to the same data through a server or other hardware setup. Networking can be a more efficient way to deliver more functionality to a large number of computers or devices. In some cases, for example, a network may allow for lower software licensing fees than buying the software for a specific number of stand-alone devices.
More recent developments have made network computing more sophisticated. One is the process of network virtualization, where hardware networks may be logically partitioned. Another is cloud computing, where the shared network resources can be located remotely for greater data security.
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