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Computer Network

Written By Admin on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 | 10:18 AM


  1. Introduction
      1.1 Purpose
  2. History of Computer Network
  3. Views of Network
  4. Computer Networking
  5. Network classification
      2.1 Connection Method
      2.2 Wired Technologies
      2.3 Wireless Technologies
      2.4 Scale
      2.5 Functional relationship (network architecture)
      2.6 Network topology
  6. Types of networks
      3.1 Personal area network
      3.2 Local area network
        3.2.1 Home area network
      3.3 Campus area network
      3.4 Metropolitan area network
      3.5 Wide area network
      3.6 Global area network
      3.7 Virtual private network
      3.8 Internetwork
          3.8.1 Internet
          3.8.2 Intranets and extranets
  7. Basic hardware components
      4.1 Network interface cards
      4.2 Repeaters
      4.3 Hubs
      4.4 Bridges
      4.5 Switches
      4.6 Routers


[pic]Computer network

A Computer Network or simply Network is a collection of computers and devices connected by communications channels that facilitates communications among users and allows users to share resources with other users. Networks may be classified according to a wide variety of characteristics. This article provides a general overview of types and categories and also presents the basic components of a network.

1. [pic]Introduction

A computer network allows sharing of resources and information among devices connected to the network. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) funded the design of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network
(ARPANET) for the United States Department of Defense. It was the first operational computer network in the world.[1] Development of the network began in 1969, based on designs developed during the 1960s. For a history see ARPANET, the first network.

1.1 Purpose

    • Facilitating communications. Using a network, people can communicate efficiently and easily via e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, telephony, video telephone calls, and videoconferencing.
    • Sharing hardware. In a networked environment, each computer on a network can access and use hardware on the network. Suppose several personal computers on a network each require the use of a laser printer. If the personal computers and a laser printer are connected to a network, each user can then access the laser printer on the network, as they need it.
    • Sharing files, data, and information. In a network environment, any authorized user can access data and information stored on other computers on the network. The capability of providing access to data and information on shared storage devices is an important feature of many networks.
    • Sharing software. Users connected to a network can access application programs on the network.

2. History of computer networks

Before the advent of computer networks that were based upon some type of telecommunications system, communication between calculation machines and early computers was performed by human users by carrying instructions between them. Many of the social behaviors seen in today's Internet were demonstrably present in
the nineteenth century and arguably in even earlier networks using visual signals.
In September 1940 George Stibitz used a teletype machine to send instructions for a problem set from his Model at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to his Complex Number Calculator in New York and received results back by the same means. Linking output systems like teletypes to computers was an interest at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) when, in 1962, J.C.R. Licklider was hired and developed a working group he called the "Intergalactic Network", a precursor to the ARPANet.
In 1964, researchers at Dartmouth developed the Dartmouth Time Sharing System for distributed users of large computer systems. The same year, at MIT, a research group supported by General Electric and Bell Labs used a computer DEC's to route and manage telephone connections.
Throughout the 1960s Leonard Kleinrock, Paul Baran and Donald Davies independently conceptualized and developed network systems which used datagram or packets that could be used in a network between computer systems.
1965 Thomas Merrill and Lawrence G. Roberts created the first wide area network (WAN).
The first widely used PSTN switch that used true computer control was the Western Electric introduced in 1965.
In 1969 the University of California at Los Angeles, SRI (in Stanford), University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah were connected as the beginning of the ARPANET network using 50 kbit/s circuits. Commercial services using X.25 were deployed in 1972, and later used as an underlying
infrastructure for expanding TCP/IP networks.
Computer networks and the technologies needed to connect and communicate through and between them, continue to drive computer hardware, software, and peripherals industries. This expansion is mirrored by growth in the numbers and types of users of networks from the researcher to the home user.
Today, computer networks are the core of modern communication. All modern aspects of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) are computer-controlled, and telephony increasingly runs over the Internet Protocol, although not necessarily the public Internet. The scope of communication has increased significantly in the past decade, and this boom in communications would not have been possible without the progressively advancing computer network.

3. Views of networks

Users and network administrators often have different views of their networks. Often, users who share printers and some servers form a workgroup, which usually means they are in the same geographic location and are on the same LAN. A community of interest has less of a connection of being in a local area, and should be thought of as a set of arbitrarily located users who share a set of servers, and possibly also communicate via peer-to-peer technologies.
Network administrators see networks from both physical and logical perspectives. The physical perspective involves geographic locations, physical cabling, and the network elements (e.g., routers, bridges and application layer gateways that interconnect the physical media. Logical networks, called,
in the TCP/IP architecture, subnets, map onto one or more physical media. For example, a common practice in a campus of buildings is to make a set of LAN cables in each building appear to be a common subnet, using virtual LAN (VLAN) technology.
Both users and administrators will be aware, to varying extents, of the trust and scope characteristics of a network. Again using TCP/IP architectural terminology, an intranet is a community of interest under private administration usually by an enterprise, and is only accessible by authorized users (e.g. employees). Intranets do not have to be connected to the Internet, but generally have a limited connection. An extranet is an extension of an intranet that allows secure communications to users outside of the intranet (e.g. business partners, customers).
Informally, the Internet is the set of users, enterprises, and content providers that are interconnected by Internet Service Providers (ISP). From an engineering standpoint, the Internet is the set of subnets, and aggregates of subnets, which share the registered IP address space and exchange information about the reachability of those IP addresses using the Border Gateway Protocol. Typically, the human-readable names of servers are translated to IP addresses, transparently to users, via the directory function of the Domain Name System (DNS).
Over the Internet, there can be business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) communications. Especially when money or sensitive information is exchanged, the communications are apt
to be secured by some form of communications security mechanism. Intranets and extranets can be securely superimposed onto the Internet, without any access by general Internet users, using secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology.
When used for gaming one computer will have to be the server while the others play through it.

4. [pic]Computer networking


Network cards such as this one can transmit and receive data at high rates over various types of network cables. This card is a 'Combo' card which supports three cabling standards.
Computer networking is the engineering discipline concerned with the communication between computer systems or devices. A computer network is any set of computers or devices connected to each other with the ability to exchange data. Computer networking is sometimes considered a sub-discipline of telecommunications, computer science, information technology and/or computer engineering since it relies heavily upon the theoretical and practical application of these scientific and engineering disciplines. The three types of networks are: the Internet, the intranet, and the extranet. Examples of different network methods are:
    • Local area network (LAN), which is usually a small network constrained to a small geographic area. An example of a LAN would be a computer network within a building.
    • Metropolitan area network (MAN), which is used for medium size area. examples for a city or a state.
    • Wide area network (WAN) that is usually a larger network that covers a large geographic area.
    • Wireless
LANs and WANs (WLAN & WWAN) are the wireless equivalent of the LAN and WAN.
All networks are interconnected to allow communication with a variety of different kinds of media, including twisted-pair copper wire cable, coaxial cable, optical fiber, power lines and various wireless technologies. The devices can be separated by a few meters (e.g. via Bluetooth) or nearly unlimited distances (e.g. via the interconnections of the Internet). Networking, routers, routing protocols, and networking over the public Internet have their specifications defined in documents called RFCs.

5. Network classification

The following list presents categories used for classifying networks.

2.1 Connection method

Computer networks can be classified according to the hardware and software technology that is used to interconnect the individual devices in the network, such as optical fiber, Ethernet, Wireless LAN, HomePNA, Power line communication or G.hn.
Ethernet uses physical wiring to connect devices. Frequently deployed devices include hubs, switches, bridges and/or routers. Wireless LAN technology is designed to connect devices without wiring. These devices use radio waves or infrared signals as a transmission medium. ITU-T G.hn technology uses existing home wiring (coaxial cable, phone lines and power lines) to create a high-speed (up to 1 Gigabit/s) local area network.

2.2 Wired technologies

    • Twisted-pair wire is the most widely used medium for telecommunication. Twisted-pair wires are ordinary telephone wires which consist of two insulated copper
wires twisted into pairs and are used for both voice and data transmission. The use of two wires twisted together helps to reduce crosstalk and electromagnetic induction. The transmission speed ranges from 2 million bits per second to 100 million bits per second.
    • Coaxial cable is widely used for cable television systems, office buildings, and other worksites for local area networks. The cables consist of copper or aluminum wire wrapped with insulating layer typically of a flexible material with a high dielectric constant, all of which are surrounded by a conductive layer. The layers of insulation help minimize interference and distortion. Transmission speed range from 200 million to more than 500 million bits per second.
    • Fiber optic cable consists of one or more filaments of glass fiber wrapped in protective layers. It transmits light which can travel over extended distances without signal loss. Fiber-optic cables are not affected by electromagnetic radiation. Transmission speed may reach trillions of bits per second. The transmission speed of fiber optics is hundreds of times faster than for coaxial cables and thousands of times faster than for twisted-pair wire.

2.3 Wireless technologies

    • Terrestrial Microwave – Terrestrial microwaves use Earth-based transmitter and receiver. The equipment looks similar to satellite dishes. Terrestrial microwaves use low-gigahertz range, which limits all communications to line-of-sight. Path between relay stations spaced approx. 30 miles apart. Microwave antennas are usually placed on top of buildings,
towers, hills, and mountain peaks.
    • Communications Satellites – The satellites use microwave radio as their telecommunications medium which are not deflected by the Earth's atmosphere. The satellites are stationed in space, typically 22,000 miles above the equator. These Earth-orbiting systems are capable of receiving and relaying voice, data, and TV signals.
    • Cellular and PCS Systems – Use several radio communications technologies. The systems are divided to different geographic area. Each area has low-power transmitter or radio relay antenna device to relay calls from one area to the next area.
    • Wireless LANs – Wireless local area network use a high-frequency radio technology similar to digital cellular and a low-frequency radio technology. Wireless LANs use spread spectrum technology to enable communication between multiple devices in a limited area. An example of open-standards wireless radio-wave technology is IEEE 802.11b.
    • Bluetooth – A short range wireless technology. Operate at approx. 1Mbps with range from 10 to 100 meters. Bluetooth is an open wireless protocol for data exchange over short distances.
    • The Wireless Web – The wireless web refers to the use of the World Wide Web through equipments like cellular phones, pagers, PDAs, and other portable communications devices. The wireless web service offers anytime/anywhere connection.

2.4 Scale

Networks are often classified as local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), metropolitan area network (MAN), personal area network (PAN), virtual private
network (VPN), campus area network (CAN), storage area network (SAN), and others, depending on their scale, scope and purpose. Usage, trust level, and access right often differ between these types of network. For example, LANs tend to be designed for internal use by an organization's internal systems and employees in individual physical locations (such as a building), while WANs may connect physically separate parts of an organization and may include connections to third parties.

2.5 Functional relationship (network architecture)

Computer networks may be classified according to the functional relationships which exist among the elements of the network, e.g., active networking, client-server and peer-to-peer (workgroup) architecture.

2.6 Network topology

Computer networks may be classified according to the network topology upon which the network is based, such as bus network, star network, ring network, mesh network, star-bus network, tree or hierarchical topology network. Network topology is the coordination by which devices in the network are arrange in their logical relations to one another, independent of physical arrangement. Even if networked computers are physically placed in a linear arrangement and are connected to a hub, the network has a star topology, rather than a bus topology. In this regard the visual and operational characteristics of a network are distinct. Networks may be classified based on the method of data used to convey the data, these include digital and analog networks.
The network topology defines the way in which computers,
printers, and other devices are connected, physically and logically. A network topology describes the layout of the wire and devices as well as the paths used by data transmissions.
Network topology has two types:
    • Physical
    • logical
Commonly used topologies include:
    • Bus
    • Star
    • Tree (hierarchical)
    • Linear
    • Ring
    • Mesh
        o partially connected
        o fully connected (sometimes known as fully redundant)
The network topologies mentioned above are only a general representation of the kinds of topologies used in computer network and are considered basic topologies.
As a matter of fact networking is defined by the standard of OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) reference for communications. The OSI model consists of seven layers. Each layer has its own function. The OSI model layers are Application, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Data Link, and Physical. The upper layers (Application, Presentation, Session) of the OSI model concentrate on the application while the lower layers (transport, network, data link, and physical) focus on signal flow of data from origin to destination. The Application layer defines the medium that communications software and any applications need to communicate to other computers. Layer 6 which is the presentation layer focuses on defining data formats such as text, jpeg, gif, and binary. An example of this layer would be displaying a picture that was received in an e-mail. The 5th Layer is the session layer which establishes how to start, control, and end
links or conversations. The transport layer includes protocols that allow it to provide functions in many different areas such as: error recovery, segmentation, and reassembly. The network layers primary job is the end to end delivery of data packets. To do this, the network layer relies on logical addressing so that the origin and destination point can both be recognized. An example of this would be, ip running in a router’s job is to examine the destination address, compare the address to the ip routing table, separate the packet into smaller chunks for transporting purposes, and then deliver the packet to the correct receiver. Layer 2 is the data link layer, which sets the standards for data being delivered across a link or medium. The 1st layer is the physical layer which deals with the physical characteristics of the transmission of data such as the network card and network cable type. An easy way to remember the layers of OSI is to remember All People Seem To Need Data Processing (Layers 7 to 1).

6. Types of networks

Common types of computer networks may be identified by their scale.

3.1 Personal area network

A personal area network (PAN) is a computer network used for communication among computer and different information technological devices close to one person. Some examples of devices that are used in a PAN are personal computers, printers, fax machines, telephones, PDAs, scanners, and even video game consoles. A PAN may include wired and wireless connections between devices. The reach of a PAN typically extends to 10 meters.[2]
Wired PAN network is usually constructed with USB and Firewire while wireless with Bluetooth and Infrared.

3.2 Local area network

A local area network (LAN) is a network that connects computers and devices in a limited geographical area such as home, school, computer laboratory, office building, or closely positioned group of buildings. Each computer or device on the network is a node. Current wired LANs are most likely to be based on Ethernet technology, although new standards like ITU-T G.hn also provide a way to create a wired LAN using existing home wires (coaxial cables, phone lines and power lines).
Typical library network, in a branching tree topology and controlled access to resources
All interconnected devices must understand the network layer (layer 3), because they are handling multiple subnets (the different colors). Those inside the library, which have only 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet connections to the user device and a Gigabit Ethernet connection to the central router, could be called "layer 3 switches" because they only have Ethernet interfaces and must understand IP. It would be more correct to call them access routers, where the router at the top is a distribution router that connects to the Internet and academic networks' customer access routers.
The defining characteristics of LANs, in contrast to WANs (Wide Area Networks), include their higher data transfer rates, smaller geographic range, and no need for leased telecommunication lines. Current Ethernet or other IEEE 802.3 LAN technologies operate at speeds up to 10
Gbit/s. This is the data transfer rate. IEEE has projects investigating the standardization of 40 and 100 Gbit/s.

3.2.1 Home area network

A home area network (HAN) or home network is a residential local area network. It is used for communication between digital devices typically deployed in the home, usually a small number of personal computers and accessories, such as printers and mobile computing devices. An important function is the sharing of Internet access, often a broadband service through a CATV or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) provider.

3.3 Campus area network

A campus area network (CAN) is a computer network made up of an interconnection of local area networks (LANs) within a limited geographical area. It can be considered one form of a metropolitan area network, specific to an academic setting.
In the case of a university campus-based campus area network, the network is likely to link a variety of campus buildings including; academic departments, the university library and student residence halls. A campus area network is larger than a local area network but smaller than a wide area network (WAN) (in some cases).
The main aim of a campus area network is to facilitate students accessing internet and university resources. This is a network that connects two or more LANs but that is limited to a specific and contiguous geographical area such as a college campus, industrial complex, office building, or a military base. A CAN may be considered a type of MAN (metropolitan area network), but is generally limited to a smaller area than a
typical MAN. This term is most often used to discuss the implementation of networks for a contiguous area. This should not be confused with a Controller Area Network. A LAN connects network devices over a relatively short distance. A networked office building, school, or home usually contains a single LAN, though sometimes one building will contain a few small LANs (perhaps one per room), and occasionally a LAN will span a group of nearby buildings.

3.4 Metropolitan area network

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a network that connects two or more local area networks or campus area networks together but does not extend beyond the boundaries of the immediate town/city. Routers, switches and hubs are connected to create a metropolitan area network.

3.5 Wide area network

A wide area network (WAN) is a computer network that covers a large geographic area such as a city, country, or spans even intercontinental distances, using a communications channel that combines many types of media such as telephone lines, cables, and air waves. A WAN often uses transmission facilities provided by common carriers, such as telephone companies. WAN technologies generally function at the lower three layers of the OSI reference model: the physical layer, the data link layer, and the network layer.

3.6 Global area network

A global area network (GAN) is a model for supporting mobile communications across an arbitrary number of wireless LANs, satellite coverage areas, etc. The key challenge in mobile communications is handing off the user communications from one
local coverage area to the next. In IEEE Project 802, this involves a succession of terrestrial WIRELESS local area networks (WLAN).

3.7 Virtual private network

A virtual private network (VPN) is a computer network in which some of the links between nodes are carried by open connections or virtual circuits in some larger network (e.g., the Internet) instead of by physical wires. The data link layer protocols of the virtual network are said to be tunneled through the larger network when this is the case. One common application is secure communications through the public Internet, but a VPN need not have explicit security features, such as authentication or content encryption. VPNs, for example, can be used to separate the traffic of different user communities over an underlying network with strong security features.
A VPN may have best-effort performance, or may have a defined service level agreement (SLA) between the VPN customer and the VPN service provider. Generally, a VPN has a topology more complex than point-to-point.
A VPN allows computer users to appear to be editing from an IP address location other than the one which connects the actual computer to the Internet.

3.8 Internetwork

An Internetwork is the connection of two or more distinct computer networks via a common routing technology. The result is called an internetwork (often shortened to internet). Two or more networks connect using devices that operate at the Network Layer (Layer 3) of the OSI Basic Reference Model, such as a router. Any interconnection among or between public,
private, commercial, industrial, or governmental networks may also be defined as an internetwork.

3.8.1 Internet

The Internet is a global system of interconnected governmental, academic, public, and private computer networks. It is based on the networking technologies of the Internet Protocol Suite. It is the successor of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) developed by DARPA of the U.S. Department of Defense. The Internet is also the communications backbone underlying the World Wide Web (WWW). The 'Internet' is most commonly spelled with a capital 'I' as a proper noun, for historical reasons and to distinguish it from other generic internetworks.
Participants in the Internet use a diverse array of methods of several hundred documented, and often standardized, protocols compatible with the Internet Protocol Suite and an addressing system (IP Addresses) administered by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and address registries. Service providers and large enterprises exchange information about the reachability of their address spaces through the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), forming a redundant worldwide mesh of transmission paths.

3.8.2 Intranets and extranets

Intranets and extranets are parts or extensions of a computer network, usually a local area network.
An intranet is a set of networks, using the Internet Protocol and IP-based tools such as web browsers and file transfer applications that are under the control of a single administrative entity. That administrative entity closes the intranet to all but specific,
authorized users. Most commonly, an intranet is the internal network of an organization. A large intranet will typically have at least one web server to provide users with organizational information.
An extranet is a network that is limited in scope to a single organization or entity and also has limited connections to the networks of one or more other usually, but not necessarily, trusted organizations or entities (e.g., a company's customers may be given access to some part of its intranet creating in this way an extranet, while at the same time the customers may not be considered 'trusted' from a security standpoint). Technically, an extranet may also be categorized as a CAN, MAN, WAN, or other type of network, although, by definition, an extranet cannot consist of a single LAN; it must have at least one connection with an external network.

7. Basic hardware components

All networks are made up of basic hardware building blocks to interconnect network nodes, such as Network Interface Cards (NICs), Bridges, Hubs, Switches, and Routers. In addition, some method of connecting these building blocks is required, usually in the form of galvanic cable (most commonly Category 5 cable). Less common are microwave links (as in IEEE 802.12) or optical cable ("optical fiber"). An Ethernet card may also be required.

4.1 Network interface cards

A network card, network adapter, or NIC (network interface card) is a piece of computer hardware designed to allow computers to communicate over a computer network. It provides physical access to a networking
medium and often provides a low-level addressing system through the use of MAC addresses.

4.2 Repeaters

A repeater is an electronic device that receives a signal, cleans it from the unnecessary noise, regenerates it and retransmits it at a higher power level, or to the other side of an obstruction, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation. In most twisted pair Ethernet configurations, repeaters are required for cable which runs longer than 100 meters.

4.3 Hubs

A network hub contains multiple ports. When a packet arrives at one port, it is copied unmodified to all ports of the hub for transmission. The destination address in the frame is not changed to a broadcast address.

4.4 Bridges

A network bridge connects multiple network segments at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. Bridges do send broadcasts to all ports except the one on which the broadcast was received. However, bridges do not promiscuously copy traffic to all ports, as hubs do, but learn which MAC addresses are reachable through specific ports. Once the bridge associates a port and an address, it will send traffic for that address to that port only.
Bridges learn the association of ports and addresses by examining the source address of frames that it sees on various ports. Once a frame arrives through a port, its source address is stored and the bridge assumes that MAC address is associated with that port. The first time that a previously unknown destination address is seen, the bridge will forward the frame to all ports other than the one
on which the frame arrived.
Bridges come in three basic types:
    • Local bridges: Directly connect local area networks (LANs)
    • Remote bridges: Can be used to create a wide area network (WAN) link between LANs. Remote bridges, where the connecting link is slower than the end networks, largely have been replaced with routers.
    • Wireless bridges: Can be used to join LANs or connect remote stations to LANs

4.5 Switches

A network switch is a device that forwards and filters OSI layer 2 datagram (chunk of data communication) between ports (connected cables) based on the MAC addresses in the packets. This is distinct from a hub in that it only forwards the frames to the ports involved in the communication rather than all ports connected. A switch breaks the collision domain but represents itself a broadcast domain. Switches make forwarding decisions of frames on the basis of MAC addresses. A switch normally has numerous ports, facilitating a star topology for devices, and cascading additional switches. Some switches are capable of routing based on Layer 3 addressing or additional logical levels; these are called multi-layer switches. The term switch is used loosely in marketing to encompass devices including routers and bridges, as well as devices that may distribute traffic on load or by application content (e.g., a Web URL identifier).

4.6 Routers

A router is a networking device that forwards packets between networks using information in protocol headers and forwarding tables to determine the best next router for each packet.

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  1. hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)

  2. I think now a day the Networking is the more preferable for career so I am doing Networking study. I have read your post and I really want to know more about it with exciting mind. This article have awesome topics for me and still wait for the new article.
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