Although most people associate the phrase "computer networking" with local area networks (LANs), other types of computer connections are networks as well. For example, when you use a dial-up modem to connect to the Internet, you are actually connecting to a remote network. In this case, the serial port or bus slot on your computer is the network interface and the telephone system is the network medium. Your computer accesses the Internet by connecting to a network run by your Internet service provider (ISP). Using the same type of dial-up connection, you can connect to other networks as well, such as the LAN in your office when you are at home or traveling. This chapter examines the hardware and software tools that you use to connect to a network at a remote location.
Although remote network connections use many of the same protocols and services as LAN connections, detailed knowledge of these concepts is not required to understand the material in this chapter. However, a general understanding of data networking concepts, such as that gained from Chapter 1, "Networking Basics," is helpful.