Networking, also known as computer networking, is the practice of transporting and exchanging data between nodes over a shared medium in an information system. Networking comprises not only the design, construction and use of a network, but also the management, maintenance and operation of the network infrastructure, software and policies.
Computer networking enables devices and endpoints to be connected to each other on a local area network (LAN) or to a larger network, such as the internet or a private wide area network (WAN). This is an essential function for service providers, businesses and consumers worldwide to share resources, use or offer services, and communicate. Networking facilitates everything from telephone calls to text messaging to streaming video to the internet of things (IoT).
The level of skill required to operate a network directly correlates to the complexity of a given network. For example, a large enterprise may have thousands of nodes and rigorous security requirements, such as end-to-end encryption, requiring specialized network administrators to oversee the network.
At the other end of the spectrum, a layperson may set up and perform basic troubleshooting for a home Wi-Fi network with a short instruction manual. Both examples constitute computer networking.