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Network and communication

Network: A computer network is a collection of computers and hardware components

interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information

Types of Network:
Local Area Network(LAN)
Metropolitan Area Network(MAN)
Wide Area Network(WAN)

LAN: When computers located within a small geographical area such as office or a University
Campus are connected together we call it a Local Area Network.
MAN: The geographical range of MAN is bigger than LAN. It covers a small city.
WAN: Wide area network span broad geographical distances, ranging from several miles
to across entire continents. WAN may consist of a combination of switched and dedicated
Lines, microwaves, and satellite communication.

Types of LAN
Client-server: A client server LAN consists of the requesting microcomputers, called
clients, and the supplying devices that provides the services, called servers. The server is
a powerful computer that manages shared devices and software. Example file server,
database server.

Peer-to-peer: In a peer-to-peer LAN all microcomputers on the network communicate

directly with one another without the help of a server. This is less expensive than a client-
server LAN and works effectively with up to 25 computers and thus appropriate for small

Components of a LAN
LANs are made up of the following components:
Connection or cabling system
Microcomputers with interface cards
Network operating systems
Other shared devices
Bridges and gateways
[ For details see the book by Huthcinson and Sawyer, chapter 8]

Uses of Computer Networks

Business Applications
1. First goal is the resource sharing to make all programs, equipment, and specially data
available to anyone on the network without regard to the physical location of the resource
and the user.
2. A computer network can provide a powerful communication medium among

3. Many companies are doing business electronically with other companies, especially
suppliers and customers.
4. Doing business with consumers over the Internet.

Home Applications
Some of the popular uses of the Internet for home users are as follows:
1. Access to remote information
2. Person-to-person communication
3. Interactive entertainment
4. Electronic Commerce
Mobile users

People on the road and sea may use their portable electronic equipment to send and
receive telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail, surf the web, access remote files, and log
on to the remote machines.

Social issues
A popular feature of many networks is newsgroups or bulletin boards whereby people can
exchange messages with like-minded individuals.

Network Topology
Network Topology refers to the physical data path that traffic takes across the network.
Three basic types of topologies are bus, star and ring.
Bus Topology
In a bus topology
Each node is connected to a common cable called a bus.
Each node has a unique address.
All nodes will receive a message, but only the addressed node is to respond.
If one node is down, the network is still available.
Fewer wires or lines are needed.
Difficult to administer/troubleshoot.
Limited cable length and number of stations.
If there is a problem with the cable, the entire network goes down.
Performance degrades as additional computers are added or on heavy traffic.

Fig: Bus topology

Star Topology
In a star topology a central host computer connected to a number of small computers or
terminals. This topology is useful for applications where some processing must be
centralized and some can be preformed locally.
Good performance
Easy to set up and to expand.
Any non-centralized failure will have very little effect on the network

If the central host computer is down, the network will come to standstill.

Ring Topology
In a ring topology all computers are connected by a closed loop in a manner that passes
data in one direction from one computer to another.
Data is quickly transferred.
The transmission of data is relatively simple as packets travel in one direction only.
Adding additional nodes has very little impact on bandwidth
The main disadvantage of a ring is larger communication delays if the number of nodes

Model of Connectivity for networks

Reference model: A reference model is a generic framework for thinking about a
Protocol: A protocol is a statement that explains how a specific task will be performed.
Open system Interconnect (OSI) Model: OSI model is an international reference model
developed by the International Standard Organization (ISO) for linking different types of
computers and networks.

The OSI model is made up of seven layers

Application Layer Application Layer

Presentation Network Presentation Layer
Session Layer Session Layer
Transport Layer Transport Layer
Network Layer Network Layer
Data Link Layer Data Link Layer
Physical Layer Physical Layer

Physical Layer: This layer defines the electrical and mechanical aspects of interfacing to
a physical medium for transmitting data. It also defines how physical links are setup,
maintained and disconnected.
Data Link Layer: This layer establishes an error-free communications path between
computers over the physical channel. It gives the standard for framing messages,
checking integrity of received messages, accessing and using channels and sequencing of
transmitted data.
Network Layer: The network layer handles the routing functions for data moving from
one open system to another. This layer provides the addressing necessary to relay data
through intermediate nodes or systems that provide the connectivity between nonadjacent
open systems.
Transport Layer: The transport layer is responsible for maintaining a specific class of
service for the user. The transport layer provides communications flow control beyond
the frame-level control provided in that data-link layer. To prevent congestion in a
network, this layer segments data or block data to form smaller or larger packets.
Session Layer: The session layer allows users on different machines to establish sessions
between them. Session offers various services, including dialog control, token
management and synchronization.

Presentation Layer: This layer is concerned with the syntax and semantics of the
information transmitted. The presentation layer manages the abstract data structures and
allows higher level data structures. It also provides ASCII-to-EBCDIC and EBCDIC-to-
ASCII conversion.

Application Layer: This provides services that directly support users such as file
transfers, remote files access, and data base management, etc.

Characteristics of Data Communications

1. Signal type: analog or digital

Analog signal: An analog signal is a continuous signal that contains time-varying
quantities. For example sound, light and radio wave.

Digital signal:
A digital signal is a discrete waveform that transmits data coded into two discrete
states as 1-bits and 0 bits, which are represented as on-off electrical pulse.

1 0 1 0 1

Modulation converts digital signals to analog form.

Demodulation converts the analog signal to digital form.
The hardware that performs modulation and demodulation is called a modem

2. Transmission mode: asynchronous versus synchronous

In asynchronous transmission, also called start-stop transmission, each
character is bracketed by start and stop bits. For each character the transmitter
transmits the character bits, one start bit, one parity bit(error check bit) and one or
two stop bits.
Start bit

0 01000111 0 1 0 01001010 1 1 ..

Start bit parity bit Stop bit parity bit

Asynchronous communication is inexpensive but slow.

In synchronous transmission, characters are sent as blocks or packets. Headers

and trailer bytes are inserted as identifiers at the beginnings and the ends of the
blocks. In addition error check bits are transmitted before the trailer bytes.

01010010 01000001 Sync


Header Error check bits Trailer

3. Direction of flow: simplex, half-duplex, full-duplex

In simplex transmission, data can travel in only one direction at all times.

Sender Receiver

In half-duplex transmission, data can travel in two directions, but only one
direction at one time.

Sender Receiver

In full-duplex transmission, data is sent in both directions simultaneously.

Sender Receiver

4. Transmission rate: frequency and bandwidth

The amount of data that can be transmitted on a channel depends on the wave
frequency- the cycle per second (hertz).

Bandwidth is the range of frequencies that is available for the transmission of
data. The greater the bandwidth of a channel the more data can be transmitted.

Communication channels are grouped into three basic categories:

1. Narrowband: Range in sped from 45 to 300 baud (bit per second). Used for
handling low data volume.
2. Voice band: Speeds up to 9600 baud. Used for telephone voice communication.
3. Broadband: Speed of 1 million baud or more. Used when large volumes of data
are to be transmitted at high speed.

Communication Media
Physical communication media are the physical channels through which information is
transmitted between computers in a network.

A channel can utilize different kinds of telecommunication media: twisted wire, coaxial
cable, fiber optics, terrestrial microwave, satellite, and wireless transmission.
Twisted Wire:
Twisted wire consists of strands of copper wire twisted in pairs and is the oldest
transmission medium. Although it is low in cost, twisted pair is relatively slow for
transmission data, and high-speed transmission causes interference called crosstalk.
Coaxial Cable
Coaxial Cable consists of thickly insulated copper wire, which can transmit a larger
volume of data than twisted wire can. It is faster, more interference-free transmission
medium, with speeds up to 200 megabits per second. However, coaxial cable is thick, is
hard to wire in many buildings, and cannot support analog phone conversations.

Inner Outer Insulation

Connector(wire) Conductor

Fiber optics:
Fiber optics cable consists of thousands of strands of clear glass fiber, the thickness of a
human hair, which are bound into cables. Data are transformed into pulses of light, which
are sent through the fiber optics cable by a laser device at a rate of 100 Mbps to 2Gbps.
Light ray Cladding


Optical fibers have several advantages. They are:

i) Very high bandwidth.
ii) Protection against electromagnetic interference.
iii) More secure, as they cannot be trapped easily.

iv) Light weight and no corrosion.
The major disadvantages of fibers are:
i) It is more difficult to work with, more expensive, and hard to install
ii) They are fragile and cannot have sharp bends.

Microwave systems transmit high-frequency radio signals through the atmosphere and
are widely used for high-volume, long-distance, point-to-point communication. The great
advantage of microwaves is the large bandwidth of 40 to 200 MHz available which will
permit data transmission rates in the range of 250 Mbps. The capital investment needed to
install microwave link is very high.
A communication satellite is essentially a microwave relay station in the sky.
Conventional communication satellites move in stationary orbits approximately 22000
miles above the earth. Communication satellites are cost effective for transmitting large
quantities of data over long distances. Initial cost of placing a satellite is very high.

Other Communication Systems

The function of a gateway is to allow two or more dissimilar network to communicate as
single logical entity.
A bridge is a device thats used to connect two similar types of networks so that they act
as if theyre one network.
A router is similar to a super-intelligent bridge for big networks. Bridges know the
address of all the computers on each side of the bridge and can be forwarded messages
accordingly. Router not only knows the addresses of all computers but also other bridges
and routers of the network, and can decide the most efficient path to send each message.
Fire Wall
A network fire wall is a gatekeeper computer system that protects a companys networks
from intrusion by serving as a filter and safe transfer point for access to and from the
internet and other networks. It screens all network traffic for proper passwords or other
security codes, and only allows authorized transmissions in and out of the network.


The Internet is a vast collection of different networks that use certain common protocols
and provide certain common services. It is the largest information superhighway in the
world. Internet began as a United States Department of Defense network to link scientists
and university professors around the world.
One of the most puzzling aspects of the Internet is that no one owns it and it has no
formal management organization. So it is less vulnerable to wartime and terrorist attacks.

Internet Services
E-mail (Electronic Mail): E-mail is the person-to-person messaging on Internet and other

Newsgroups: Newsgroups are worldwide discussion groups in which people with a

common interest can exchange message. Thousands of newsgroups exist, devoted to
technical and nontechnical topics, including computers, science, recreation, and politics.

Chatting: Chatting allows people who are on the computer simultaneously to hold live,
interactive conversations.

Telnet: Telnet is an Internet service that allows a visitor to access any other remote
computers as if they were local. To use Telnet, you must have the Internet address of the
remote computer. Once you transmit the computer address, you are asked to login before
being allowed to access computer files or use the computer.

FTP: FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a network tool to download data files, programs,
reports, articles, magazines, books, pictures, sounds, and other types of files from
thousand of sources to you computer system.

WWW (World Wide Web): World Wide Web is a set of standards for storing, retrieving,
formatting, and displaying, information using a client/server architecture, graphical user
interface, and a hypertext language called (Hypertext markup Language).

Hypertext: Hypertext is simply text with links. Links are elements of the hypertext that
you can select. When you click on the link youll be transported to the documents its
linked to.

HTML: Hypertext Markup language is a hypertext language that formats documents and
incorporates dynamic links to other documents and pictures stored in the same or remote

Web page: Web page is any World Wide Web text and graphical screen display.

Home page: Home page is a World Wide Web text and graphical screen display that
welcomes the user and explains the organization that has established the page.

Browser: Browser is a software tool that supports graphics and hyperlinks and is needed
to navigate the web.

Other terms in Internet

Internet Service Provider (ISP): ISP is an organization that links users to the Internet
for a fee. ISP industry offers a variety of services including:
1. Linking consumers and business to the Internet
2. Monitoring and maintaining customers web site
3. Network management and system integration
4. Backbone access services for other ISPs
5. Payment systems for online purchases

Server: Server is a PC-like piece of hardware and an operating system that store
applications or information sought by a client.

Domain: A Domain name is a unique Internet address designed to represent a web site.
The Internet uses an addressing scheme, that employs the Domain Naming
Systems(DNS). The system provides a method of uniquely identifying different
organizations, computer systems, and individuals on the internet. Consider the following

The portion of the address after the @ sign is the domain.

The domain names always proceed from left to right, from most specific to most general.
Top-level domains are those that are rightmost in an address. Top-level domains can be
either organizational or geographic in nature.
Organizational Domains
Typically, the highest level (rightmost) part of the full domain is a code indicating the
type of organization to which domain belongs. There are seven different organizational
domains as indicated in Table 1.

Table 1 Organizational Domains

Domain Purpose
com Commercial entities
edu Educational institute
gov Non-military US Govt. institute
int International institute
mil US military institutes
net Network resources
org Non-profit organization

New top-level domains approved May 15, 2001:

.biz Business firms
.info Information providers

Proposed top-level domains:
.aero Air transport industry
.coop Cooperatives
.museum Museums
.name Individuals
.pro Professionals

Geographic Domains
In case of outside the United States, a code is included that indicates to which country it
belongs. This code consists of only two characters, which represents the international
country codes. A new common one are shown in Table 2

Table 2
Domain Country
bd Bangladesh
au Australia
ca Canada
jp Japan
uk United Kingdom

Internet Protocol(IP) Address

Every host on the Internet has a unique host number. This number is called the Internet
Protocol address, or IP address. The IP address is a unique 32-bit address that is assigned
to a host system when it is first linked to the Internet. This address is generally written as
four parts, separated by the . as in Since each part corresponds to a
byte, each can be between 0 and 255. When you use a domain name, it is automatically
translated to an IP address before the message can be transmitted.


The Internet addressing convention described earlier is called Internet Protocol version 4
(IPv4). This dotted quad addressing scheme (a 32-bit string of numbers organized into
four sets of numbers ranging from 0 to 255) contains up to 4 billion addresses (2 to the
32nd power). Because many corporations and governments have been given large blocks
of millions of IP addresses to accommodate current and future workforces, and because
of sheer Internet population growth, the world is running out of available IP addresses
using this scheme. A new version of the IP addressing scheme being developed is called
Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and contains 128-bit addresses (2 to the power of 128),
or over a quadrillion possible unique addresses (National Research Council, 2000).

Internet Telephony: Hardware and software have been developed for Internet
telephony, enabling companies to use Internet technology for telephone voice
transmission over the Internet or private networks.
Voice over IP (VoIP) technology uses the Internet Protocol (IP) to deliver voice
information in digital form using packet switching, avoiding the tolls charged by local
and long-distance telephone networks. Calls that would ordinarily be transmitted over
public telephone networks would travel over the corporate network based on the Internet
Protocol or the public Internet. IP telephony calls can be made and received with a
desktop computer equipped with a microphone and speakers or with a VoIP-enabled

Although there are up-front investments required for an IP phone system, VoIP can
reduce communication and network management costs by 20 to 30 percent. In addition to
lowering long-distance costs and eliminating monthly fees for private lines, an IP
network provides a single infrastructure for running voice, data, and video applications.
Companies no longer have to maintain separate networks for each or provide support
services and personnel for each different type of network. Businesses can use this
technology for applications such as Internet conference calls using video, for Web sites
that enable users to reach a live customer service representative by clicking a link on a
Web page, or for unified messaging. Unified messaging systems combine voice mail, e-
mail, and faxes so they can all be obtained from one system.

Another advantage of VoIP is its flexibility. Phones can be added or moved to different
offices without rewiring or reconfiguring the network. If a phone needs to be added or
moved in a traditional telephone network, some additional cabling might be required and
the firm would have to pay the telecommunications vendor to do the installation. With
VoIP, users merely plug their VoIP-enabled phones into the IP network at the new
locations. Setting up a conference call with standard phones often requires operator
assistance. With VoIP, a conference call can be arranged by a simple click and drag
operation on the computer screen to select the names of the conferees. Voice and e-mail
can be combined into a single directory. The Window on Organizations details why more
and more businesses are adopting this technology.

Internet Protocol: TCP/IP

The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) model developed by the

U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network(DARPANET) and is used in
the Internet. It has five layers.

1. Physical net: Defines basic electrical transmission characteristics generated during

2. Network Interface: Handle addressing issues, usually in the operating system, as
well as the interface between the initiating computer and the network.
3. Internet(IP): Handles system-to-system communication. This layer is self-contained,
connectionless data gram delivery process that does not depend on the network for
message receive acknowledge.
4. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP): Performs transport, The Transmission
Control Protocol supports reliable transfer of information independent of the category
of computer at the higher layer.
5. Application: Provides end-user functionality by translating the messages into the
user/host software for screen presentation.

1. Physical net: Defines basic electrical transmission characteristics generated during
2. Network Interface: Handle addressing issues, usually in the operating system, as
well as the interface between the initiating computer and the network.
3. Internet(IP): Handles system-to-system communication. This layer is self-contained,
connectionless data gram delivery process that does not depend on the network for
message receive acknowledge.
4. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP): Performs transport, The Transmission
Control Protocol supports reliable transfer of information independent of the category
of computer at the higher layer.
5. Application: Provides end-user functionality by translating the messages into the
user/host software for screen presentation.

Host A Application Application Host B

Transport Transport

Internet(IP) Internet(IP)

Network Network
Interface Internet

Physical net

Fig: The TCP/IP reference model

Web Addresses (URLs)

URL stands for uniform Resource Locator. Its a form of address that all Web browsers
can understand. A web address starts with the name of a protocol; most of the time HTTP.
For example:
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.

Internet benefits to Organizations

Marketing and selling products and services

Doing business fast
Gathering opinions and trying out new idea
Leveling the playing field
Promoting a paper-free environment
Providing a superior customer service and support resource
Efficiency and unequaled cost-effectiveness
Supporting managerial functions, spreading ideas, ease of technical support
Triggering new business
Reducing communication cost
Enhancing communication and coordination

Security and privacy
Fakes and forgeries
Technology problems
--Lack of standards
--Availability of so much data
Legal Issues
The traditional Internet culture