Internet MapA computer network or data network is a telecommunications network that allows computers to exchange data. The connections (network links) between networked computing devices (network nodes) are established using either cable media or wireless media. The best-known computer network is the Internet.

Network devices that originate, route and terminate the data are called network nodes. Nodes can include hosts such as servers and personal computers, as well as networking hardware. Two devices are said to be networked when a process in one device is able to exchange information with a process in another device.

Today, computer networks are the core of modern communication. All modern aspects of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) are computer-controlled. Telephony increasingly runs over the Internet Protocol, although not necessarily the public Internet. The scope of communication has increased significantly in the past decade. This boom in communications would not have been possible without the progressively advancing computer network. Computer networks, and the technologies that make communication between networked computers possible, continue to drive computer hardware, software, and peripherals industries. The expansion of related industries is mirrored by growth in the numbers and types of people using networks, from the researcher to the home user.