This post is incomplete…

This post is aimed at the Matric Learner preparing for theory assessment: it covers work from the entire CAT syllabus. Much of this theory was covered in Grades 10 & 11 and should serve as revision.

Definition: a (computer) network is defined as two or more computer devices connected to each other.

The physical network is therefore made up of a variety of devices and connections:

  • The devices could be any number of things: PC’s, laptops, servers, printers, Smart TV’s.
  • The connections could be components ranging from UTP cable, Wi-Fi adapters, routers, switches, optic fiber and more.

In addition to the physical components there is software that is installed, such as operating systems for servers, firewall software.

Finally, there are a set of protocols and related technologies (for example, encryption) that are employed on the network.

If you like technical detail and are interested in Networking as a career possibility, it is worth Googling “network OSI model”.

Network topology

Network topology is the arrangement of the elements of a communication network. In CAT we describe the arrangement of various types of telecommunication networks as being a PAN, HAN, CAN, LAN, WAN or WLAN, peer-to-peer, server-client.


The Internet is a network spanning the entire globe. It is a massive network of networks.


The World Wide Web is a service running on the Internet.


A Virtual Private Network is an encrypted, private network running over a public network. This enables a smaller, localised network such as a LAN in an office building to be accessible from a remote location such as a customers office by extending it over the Internet.

For example, let us imagine that you worked in an office with a laptop. Whilst at the office, your laptop is able to access the office network as it is connected via a standard ethernet cable. This means being able to use all the shared resources available on the LAN: printers, file servers, intranet and Internet connection.

However, next week you will be working from home with your laptop. You have Internet access at home, but how will you access your files on the file server or the company Intranet? Via VPN access, of course! You will connect to the Internet and sign on to the VPN server. The Internet then acts as the “cable” connecting you to your office LAN. Of course, now all your classified work information is travelling over the Internet. Not to worry: the VPN server encrypts all the data travelling across the connection.

Questions from past papers

Grade 12 P2 Prelim 2018 WCED

1.5 Which ONE of the following refers to a private internal network which can be accessed only by employees outside the company building?

  1. VPN
  2. Intranet
  3. Extranet
  4. RSS

By MisterFoxOnline

CAT Educator

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