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Data Communications and Networking

Data Communication Networks Protocols and Standards Standard Organizations

Why study data communications

ICT is the fastest growing technologies in our culture today Data communications and networking are important elements that enable information to be shared It is important to understand the concepts and mechanisms of these technologies - what they do and when to use

Data Communication
Data communication is the exchange of data between two devices via some form of transmission medium The communicating devices are part of the communication system made up of hardware and software

Data Communication
Characteristics of effective Data Comm Systems


The system must deliver data to the correct destination The system must deliver data accurately The system must deliver data in a timely manner



Data Communication
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Data Communication

Message the information (data) to be communicated; text,

numbers, pictures, sound, video, etc or combination

(data refers to facts, concepts and instructions presented in whatever form agreed upon by the parties creating and using the data)

Sender the device that sends the message; computer,

workstation, telephone handset, video camera, etc

Receiver the device that receives the message; computer,

workstation, telephone handset, video camera, etc

Medium the physical path for the transmission; copper wire,

fiber-optic cable, laser, radio waves, etc

Protocol the set of rules that govern data communications;

agreement between the communicating devices


A network is a set of devices (often referred to as nodes) connected by media links A node can be a computer, printer, or any other devices capable of sending and/or receiving data generated by other nodes on the network. The links connecting the devices are called communication channels.

Networks promotes distributed processing

a task is divided among multiple computers

Advantages of distributed processing

Security/encapsulation a system designer can limit the kinds of

interaction that a given user can have with the entire system

Distributed databases storage capacity can be at different


Faster problem solving concurrent processing by many

computers in solving a problem is faster than a single computer

Security through redundancy multiple computers running the

same program improve security

Collaborative processing multiple computers/users can interact

on a single task

Network Criteria

To be considered effective and efficient

Network Criteria


number of users, type of transmission medium, hardware and software frequency of failure, recovery time of a network after a failure, contingency plan on catastrophe unauthorized access, viruses



Protocols and Standards

A protocol is a set of rules (conventions) that govern all aspects of data communication

Defines what is communicated, how it is communicated and when it is communicated

The key elements syntax (structure/format); semantics (meaning of the structure); timing (when to send and how fast)

A standard provides a model for development that makes it possible for a product to work regardless of manufacturers

Protocols and Standards

De jure legislated by official bodies De facto industry standard, proprietary & non-proprietary

Standard Organizations
ISO dedicated to a worldwide agreement on international

ITU-T related to the UN for telecommunications ANSI US non-profit org, representing US to ISO and ITU-T IEEE largest professional society developing standards for
computing, communication, electrical engineering, electronics

EIA - non-profit org, promoting standards for electronics


Standard Organizations

Frame Relay Forum

(DEC, Nortel, Cisco, etc)

ATM Forum and ATM Consortium

(PBX exchange manufacturers, telecom providers, etc)

deals with the progress of the Internet


Basic Concepts
Line Configuration Topology Transmission Mode Categories of Networks Internetworks

Line Configuration
defines the attachment of communication devices to a link

a link is a physical communication pathway that transfers data from one device to another

Line Configuration

A dedicated link between two devices, i.e. the entire capacity of the channel is reserved for transmission

e.g. wire

Line Configuration

A dedicated link between two devices, i.e. the entire capacity of the channel is reserved for transmission

e.g. wire

Line Configuration

A dedicated link between two devices, i.e. the entire capacity of the channel is reserved for transmission

e.g. microwave and satellite links, etc.

Line Configuration
Multipoint (aka multidrop)

more than two devices share a single link

spatially shared several devices can share the link simultaneously time-shared devices take turn to use the link

defines the physical or logical arrangement of links in a network

geometric representation of the relationship of all links and nodes

Topology - Mesh
each node has a dedicated point-to-point link to every other node

Topology Mesh

each connection can carry its own data load eliminating traffic problems if one link becomes unusable, it does not incapacitate the entire system robust a dedicated line guarantees security easy fault identification and fault isolation - reroutable


the amount of cabling and number of i/o ports required expensive

Topology Star
Each device has a dedicated point-to-point link only to a central controller (or hub).

Topology Star

only one link and one I/O port required per device less expensive than mesh topology if one link fails, only that link is affected robust easy fault identification and fault isolation (as long as the hub is working)


if the hub fails, the network is down requires more cabling than tree, ring and bus topologies

Topology Tree
A variation of a star majority of devices are connected to
secondary hubs (active/passive) than a central hub (active).

Topology Tree

generally similar to star secondary hubs allow more devices to be connected increase the distance allows the network to isolate and prioritize communications from different computers


generally similar to star

Topology Bus
One long cable (the backbone) link all the devices in the network multipoint

Topology Bus

easy installation use less cabling than mesh, star or tree


difficult reconfiguration and fault isolation a fault or break in the bus cable stops all transmission

Topology Ring
Each device is linked only to its immediate neighbors

Topology Ring

each device incorporates a repeater easy to install and reconfigure


in unidirectional traffic, a break in the ring can disable the entire network (some implementations use a dual ring or a switch)

Topology Hybrid
combination of several topologies as subnetworks linked together in a larger topology.

Transmission Modes
the direction of signal flow between two linked devices.

Transmission Mode
simplex the communication is unidirectional only of the two
devices on a link can transmit, the other receive

Transmission Mode
half-duplex each device can both transmit and receive, but not
at the same time.

Transmission Mode
full-duplex (or duplex) both devices can transmit and
receive simultaneously

Categories of Networks
Determined by its size, ownership, distance covered and physical architecture

Point to point communication not usually practical

Devices are too far apart Large set of devices would need impractical number of connections Wide Area Network (WAN) Local Area Network (LAN)

Solution is a communications network

Local Area Network (LAN)

Usually privately owned and links the devices in a single office, building or campus

Local Area Networks

Smaller scope

Building or small campus

Usually owned by same organization as attached devices Data rates much higher Usually broadcast systems Now some switched systems and ATM are being introduced

Local Area Network (LAN)

Size limited to a few kilometers Common topologies are bus, ring and star High data rate 4/10/16 Mbps to 100 Mbps or gigabits

LAN Configurations

Switched Ethernet

May be single or multiple switches

ATM LAN Fibre Channel Mobility Ease of installation


Wide Area Networks

Large geographical area Crossing public rights of way Rely in part on common carrier circuits Alternative technologies

Circuit switching Packet switching Frame relay Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)

Wide Area Network (WAN)

long-distance transmission over large geographical areas (continent/world) utilize public, leased or private communication in combinations An enterprise network is a WAN owned by one company

Circuit Switching
Dedicated communications path established for the duration of the conversation e.g. telephone network

Packet Switching
Data sent out of sequence Small chunks (packets) of data at a time Packets passed from node to node between source and destination Used for terminal to computer and computer to computer communications

Frame Relay
Packet switching systems have large overheads to compensate for errors Modern systems are more reliable Errors can be caught in end system Most overhead for error control is stripped out

Asynchronous Transfer Mode

ATM Evolution of frame relay Little overhead for error control Fixed packet (called cell) length Anything from 10Mbps to Gbps Constant data rate using packet switching technique

Metropolitan Area Networks

MAN Middle ground between LAN and WAN Private or public network High speed Large area

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Extend over entire city, may be wholly owned by a private company, popular service SMDS

internet network of networks