To physically connect to a network, a computer must have a network interface card (NIC). The NIC is a piece of hardware that allows a computer to connect to the network medium. It may be integrated into the computer motherboard or may be a separately installed card. Once an OS is installed, the computer can be configured to participate in a network. A network is a group of devices, such as computers, that are connected to each other for the purposes of sharing information and resources. Shared resources can include printers, documents and Internet access connections.

Manual IP Configuration in Computer

With manual configuration, the required values are entered into the computer via the keyboard, typically by a network administrator. The IP address entered is referred to as a static address and is permanently assigned to that computer.

Computer-IP Address

Dynamic IP Configuration

Computers may be set up to receive network configuration dynamically. This allows a computer to request an address from a pool of addresses assigned by another device within the network. When the computer is finished with the address it is returned to the pool for assignment to another computer.

In addition to the IP address, some network operating systems make use of names. In this environment each individual system must have a unique name assigned to it.
A computer name provides a user friendly name, making it easier for users to connect to shared resources such as folders and printers on other computers.

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