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Abbr Full Name Description

LAN Local Area

E.g. School or business network. Usually confined to one building.
Uses wired communications protocols like Ethernet.
WLAN Wireless LAN The same as a LAN but using wireless technologies, e.g. wifi, rather
than wires.
VLAN Virtual LAN A subgroup of computers on a LAN that are treated alike (e.g. in
terms of security or bandwidth) regardless of their physical proximity
on the network.
WAN Wide Area
Any communications network that connects geographically
dispersed hosts, usually across regional or national boundaries.
Often a network of LANs belonging to a multinational company
linked by leased lines.
SAN Storage Area
A network not normally accessible from the main LAN on which the
hosts are predominantly high-capacity storage devices, such as
tape drives.
PAN Personal Area
A short-range network of personal devices, such as cellphones,
tablets and audio headsets, often utilizing Bluetooth short-range
Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_network
An intranet is like a private internet. It is made up of web
pages and viewed through a browser, but access is
restricted to users within an organization.
An extranet is an intranet that has been opened up to
provide limited access to a selection of users outside the
organization. Companies use extranets in a bid to
welcome their customers or suppliers into their
organization and facilitate cooperation and collaboration.
The internet is a network of networks connected using IP
(Internet Protocol). It powers a large range of
communication media such as the World-Wide Web
(documents connected by hyperlinks), email, chat,
gaming, newsgroups, etc
A Virtual Private Network is a network uses the public
internet for communication, but which has security
features such as usernames, passwords and encryption,
to restrict access to a select group of users.
It behaves like a private network even though it uses the
public internet.
The obvious benefit is that resources such as files,
printers and databases can be shared over remote hosts
without having to provide dedicated lines between them.
Another benefit is reduced cost. It is possible to connect
hosts securely using leased lines. Leased line costs can
be extremely high, whereas fully featured VPN software
is freely available as open source.
A disadvantage is that because VPN traffic travels on a
public network, strong security measures are required.
1. A program that provides
services requested by
client programs.
2. A computer that
provides services to
another computer
connected over a
Client (IBs awful definition)
Desktop computer or terminal
used to access a computer-
based system.
A network architecture in which a system is
divided between server tasks performed on
the instructions received from clients,
requesting information.
Client (better definition)
A computer on a network that
gains access to central data
files, programs, and
peripheral devices through a
Strictly, a server is a piece of software that listens for
client requests on a particular set of ports and responds
to those requests
Like with firewall, the word server can refer to the
software, or the hardware on which the software is
Almost always, a server is a dedicated machine that
does nothing else
Its just a computer with special modifications like extra
processors, lots or RAM, huge storage capacity
Its often big and flat so it can fit in a server rack
There are different types of server: file server, web
server, database server, etc
Every computer linked to
every other
No server
Can be faster than client-
server architecture,
especially when special
algorithms are used, e.g.
Less secure because
services such as filtering,
antivirus, firewalls are
delegated to each peer
Port (IB definition): An access point for data entry or exit.
A port can either be hardware (the various sockets at the
back of your PC, eg serial port, USB port), or it can be
software, in which case it is a logical channel for data
communication, identified by a number from 0-65536
Ports allow computers to decide which application should
handle data received on a network, e.g. outgoing email
runs on port 25, HTTP runs on port 80, FTP runs on port

A firewall is a program that restricts data allowed into and
out of a network, on the basis of a set of rules
One of the ways it does this is to close certain ports
Try playing World of Warcraft using the schools internet
connection. You will fail. Why? Because the WoW software
uses certain port numbers but the schools firewall blocks
traffic on those ports
The word firewall can refer to the software itself, or the
hardware on which the software runs. Often a firewall is a
dedicated machine that does nothing else
import java.net.Socket;
import java.net.ServerSocket;
public class EchoServer {
public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
// create socket
int port = 4444;
ServerSocket serverSocket = new ServerSocket(port);
System.err.println("Started server on port " + port);

// repeatedly wait for connections, and process
while (true) {
// a "blocking" call which waits until a connection is requested
Socket clientSocket = serverSocket.accept();
System.err.println("Accepted connection from client");

// open up IO streams
In in = new In (clientSocket);
Out out = new Out(clientSocket);

// waits for data and reads it in until connection dies
// readLine() blocks until the server receives a new line from client
String s;
while ((s = in.readLine()) != null) {

// close IO streams, then socket
System.err.println("Closing connection with client");
This is an echo server
written in Java. It listens for
connections on port 4444.
When it receives something,
it just sends the same thing
straight back to where it
came from.
A proxy is a machine that brokers the
communication between two other
Only one machine in the school is
connected to the internet: the web
Test this by typing What is my ip in
Google. You will get the same answer
whatever school computer you use
When you request a web page, you in
fact ask the proxy, and the proxy gets
it from the web and gives it to you
Hence it can check you are not going
to dodgy websites
A web proxy reduces the need for
internet connections and allows
security features, e.g. virus checking
and content filtering, to be centralised
for all users

Provider: Usually short for Internet Service Provider, a provider offers
a number of internet-related services, such as:
access to the internet
website hosting
application/database hosting
There are different sizes of ISP and small ISPs will have their own,
larger ISPs who provide them with services.
The biggest ISPs, who don't need their own ISP, are called Tier 1
Providers offer different ways to connect to the internet depending on
your speed and bandwidth requirements.
For remote customers, or customers where there is limited telephone
system coverage, access may be offered by satellite.

Dial-up ISDN ADSL T1 Gigabit Ethernet Fibre Optic
Slow ----------------------- Medium ---------------------------- Fast

Simplex: One-way, e.g. a radio broadcast
Half-duplex: Two-way, but not at the same time, e.g. walkie-talkie
Full-duplex: Two-way, and at the same time, e.g. telephone
Speed measure in bps (bits per second) not Bps (bytes
per second)
Dial-up is slow at around 56 kbps
Broadband is faster currently up to around 10 mbps
WiFi is wireless broadband but fairly short range
WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access)
is higher bandwidth and longer range wireless
Nice article here: Wikipedia Internet Access
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
Asymmetric because you can download much faster than you
can upload
Carried over a normal telephone line but at such high
frequencies that it is separable from voice
Hence ADSL can be used at the same time as voice, unlike a
dial-up connect, which hogs the line
It uses the POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) to carry a
digital signal, unlike an dial-up modem, which is analogue
So it's a myth that the telephone system is analogue it can
carry analogue (voice) and digital (data) at the same time, just
like the TV signal, which used to be analogue and is now
Analogue signals are created by smoothly varying voltages;
digital signals are created by abrupt step-changes in voltage.
Same medium, different signals.

Packet switched communication
Data broken into small packets (e.g. 64kb maximum for
Packets may take totally different routes to their
Packets reassembled and sequenced at destination into
coherent data
Example: Internet
Circuit switched communication
Dedicated channel established between both parties
Data sent in one go, in order, and received likewise

Full use of available bandwidth. In a telephone call (circuit
switched) even if both parties are saying nothing, the channel is still
established and nobody else can use the available bandwidth. With
packet switching, the instant my data has been sent, the bandwidth
is free to be used by other parties. (Imagine chatting on Facebook: It
may seem like messages are going backwards and forwards
constantly, but in fact your computer is spending 99.9% of its time
waiting for you to finish typing, and only 0.1% of it's time actually
sending your messages.)
More secure, because it's difficult to intercept packets that are taking
different routes across the network.
Devices of different speeds can communicate easily. In circuit-
switched networks both parties have to agree to communicate at the
speed of the slower party.
Resilient to communications hardware failure. If one channel
goes down, packets will just take a different route. In circuit-switched
networks, loss of a channel can mean no communication is possible
at all.
Nice link here.

Protocol: An internationally agreed set of rules to ensure
transfer of data between devices. A standard protocol is one
that is recognized as the standard for a specific type of
Data is just a huge sequence of 1's and 0's a protocol is an
agreed way of deciding what it all means
For example, the first 32 bits might encode the address of the
sender, the next 32 bits encode the address of the receiver,
Examples are:
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): for sending and receiving web
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): for making sure that data
packets get received and sequenced properly
IP (Internet Protocol): for making sure that data sent across a network
gets to the right host (computer)
SMTP (Simple Message Transfer Protocol): for sending email
ASCII is an example of an extremely simple protocol
Bits are interpreted in groups of 8 and each group
corresponds to a character, e.g. 01000001 = A and
00111111 = ?
A protocol error occurs when the receiver interprets data
using the wrong protocol and ends up with total
You are now ready to cause your own protocol error:
Open up Windows notepad
Choose File, Open (select All Files)
Open up an image file (gif, jpeg, png, etc)
Notepad will dutifully interpret the file as text, and you
will end up with meaningless junk
This is essentially a protocol error
A data packet is a unit of data made into a single
package that travels along a given network path. Data
packets are used in Internet Protocol (IP) transmissions
for data that navigates the Web, and in other kinds of
Handshaking (old IB definition): The exchange of
predetermined signals when a connection is established
between two devices or components.
The process of by which two devices on a network agree
upon which protocol they are going to use for their
A good example is dial-up modems, which have to decide
what rate data will be sent at, what checks will be done,
etc. Have you ever heard the squealing an acoustic
modem makes when it first connects? That is in fact the
handshaking procedure.
Another example is when you reset your Broadband
router at home. The lights slowly come on one-by-one
and flash and blink before they finally settle down. That's
the handshaking procedure.

Usernames identify, passwords authenticate
Other authentication methods: fingerprints, retinal scan
Access control: read, write, delete, etc different user
types with different privileges
Physical measures, e.g. walls, doors, locks

Compression ?
The amount of data is reduced and the file is made

Why used ?
Compression is used to save disc space.
Compression is used to speed up transmission over a


1. smaller storage capacity when saved on a drives
2. faster transmission down a network.


1. Compressed data needs to be de-compressed before it
can be used.
2. There may be some loss of data.
"Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask
what you can do for your country.
The quote has 17 words, made up of 61 letters, 16
spaces, one dash and one period.
Each character is one byte
Total 79 bytes of storage
"ask" appears two times
"what" appears two times
"your" appears two times
"country" appears two

"can" appears two times
"do" appears two times
"for" appears two times
"you" appears two times

1. ask
2. what
3. your
4. country

5. can
6. do
7. for
8. you

"1 not 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 -- 1 2 8 5 6 7 3 4"
Your new
The compressed sentence (including spaces) takes up
37 units.
The dictionary (words and numbers) also takes up 37
Total file size = 74 bytes

5 Bytes less than before!
1. ask__
2. what__
3. you

1. r__country
2. __can__do__for__yo

Your new

1. The sentence now takes up 18 bytes of memory
2. The dictionary takes up 41 bytes.
3. Total file size = 59 bytes

4. 20 Bytes less than before!

A protocol is a set of rules for transmitting data across
a network.

Computers would not be able to communicate if there
was no protocol as they would not be able to interpret
each other's transmitted data.

Protocols will have rules for...

detecting a connection
how to start and end a message
how to format a message
what to do about errors
how to detect a loss of connection and what to do next
terminating a connection

Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

This is the set of rules governing how webpages are
moved around the Internet, from device to device.

File Transfer Protocol:

This is the set of rules governing how files are transferred
from one computer to another.

For Example; Uploading web pages to a web server.

Voice Over Internet Protocol:
This is the set of rules governing how voiced messages
are sent over the Internet.

For Example; Speaking to somebody over Team Speak.

Wireless Application Protocol:
This is not a formalised standard yet.
This protocol allows data to be sent across a network

For Example; Using portable handheld devices such as
Smart Phones\ Tablets\ etc. to connect to the Internet.

Post Office Protocol (Version 3):
This is the set of rules governing how e-mails are
accessed from an online location on a local computer.

Internet Message Access Protocol:
This is the set of rules governing how e-mails are accessed
from a remote server via a local computer

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol:
This is the set of rules governing how e-mails are sent
from one server to another.

TCP/IP is really a combination of two protocols -
Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol

TCP/IP is the basic communication protocol of the
Internet and other networks.

TCP allows two computers to establish a connection and
exchange data.

IP lays down rules for assembling data into packets that
are transmitted over the Internet.