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A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information.1 Where at least one process in one device is able to send/receive data to/from at least one process residing in a remote device, then the two devices are said to be in a network.

  1. By that definition, am I right to say that if I had two computers connected using a USB transfer cable, I own a computer network?

  2. Can have a computer network with hundreds of computers and none of them has (needs) an IP for data transfer to occur between them?

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closed as not constructive by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, kobaltz, bwDraco, Mokubai, Nifle Jan 1 '12 at 11:43

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"A computer network is nothing more than two or more computers connected together in order to share information" THE END. So yes, two computers connected by practically any means (that allows them to share information) is considered a "network", regardless of the protocol. Just like it says in the definition you provided. :) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Dec 31 '11 at 19:48
What makes you think that the Internet Protocol is spoken over that cable at all? – JdeBP Dec 31 '11 at 19:52
@JdeBP do you mean that I can have a computer network with hundreds of computers and none of them has (needs) an IP ? – Pacerier Dec 31 '11 at 20:09
@Pacerier: Yes, you can. The IP protocol is not the only network layer protocol in existence. Before IP (the protocol) became popular, there have been many other protocols without "IP addresses" but using their own schemes: AppleTalk, DECnet, IPX, NCP, NetBEUI, X.25, XNS for local networks, FidoNet and WWIInet and UUCP for long-distance connections, to name a few. And today even IP, version 4, is being slowly replaced by IPv6. And those are only the most popular ones... Such peer-to-peer links as USB can possibly do away with addresses entirely, leaving just "this end" and "other end". – grawity Dec 31 '11 at 22:14
Yep, computer networks have existed in one form or another since the 60s, at least. No need for IP address, and in a very few cases no "address" at all. I vaguely recall some schemes using a "ring" where addressing was done by "hops" vs assigned addresses, and there were others where the processes/tasks had addresses but the processors for all intents and purposes didn't. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 31 '11 at 22:31
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You're assuming that an "IP address" is required for each node in the network. This is not true; there are protocols that do not require IP at all in order to function.

In fact, most of that definition is incorrect. The only requirement for nodes to be in a network is the possibility of information flow between nodes, and for each node to exist as an independent entity, i.e. not on the network. Any protocols used are merely implementation details.

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I've changed the link to a more reputable source of information – Pacerier Dec 31 '11 at 20:15

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