Understanding Network Protocols

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Topic 2: Understanding Network Protocols

I. What is a network?

A computer network, or simply a network, is a collection of computers and other hardware interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information.

LAN
- Connects devices within a single office or home or among buildings in an office park. The key aspect here is that LAN is owned entirely by a single organization. - In simplest conception, it consists of a few desktop computers and a printer.

WAN
- Consists of a conglomerate of LANs over widely separated locations. The key aspect here is that a WAN can be either publicly or privately owned.

What is an Internet?
- Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (often called TCP/IP, although not all applications use TCP) to serve billions of users worldwide. - It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies.

Peer-to-peer networking
- In peer-to-peer networking each computer has an equal status, each can use resources such as printers and scanners from other workstations and can commuicate with the other workstations without going through a server.

Advantages
- Easy to set up and maintain
- Inexpensive
- Will continue to operate if one of the workstations or resources malfunctions Disadvantages
- Because the files are stored locally on each workstation they can only be accessed by others when that workstation is turned on. - No central control over security or backups. Every resource and workstation may have a different password. - Only works well with a small number of computers

Server-based networking
- As the name suggests server-based networking is a network where resources, files and security are all handled by dedicated servers. Such systems often require specialist software such as network operating systems and hardware such as print servers.

Advantages
- Can easily cope with thousands of users.
- Backup, security and account control are all central. - Software can be shared between the computers.
Disadvantages
- If one of the servers go down all the users are affected and it may even bring the whole network down. - More expensive to setup and maintain.

Network topologies
- It is the topological structure of a network, and may be depicted physically or logically. - There are two basic categories of network topologies: a. Physical topology refers to the placement of the network's various components, including device location and cable installation, refers to the layout of cabling, the locations of nodes, and the interconnections between the nodes and the cabling. b. While logical topology shows how data flows within a network, regardless of its physical design. It is the way that the signals act on the network media, or the way that the data passes through the network from one device to the next without regard to the physical interconnection of the devices.

What is Ethernet?
- Is a physical and data link layer technology for local area networks (LANs). Ethernet was invented by engineer Robert Metcalfe. - Is a network standard for data transmission using either coaxial or twisted pair cable. - Is the most common type of connection computers use in a local area network (LAN). An Ethernet port looks much like a regular phone jack, but it is slightly wider. This port can be used to connect your computer to another computer, a local network, or an external DSL or...
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