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Business enterprises now have a number of computer systems dispersed in organizational units both within and outside countries, depending on the business scenario. With the vast amount of information that is stored in these machines, decision making in todays fiercely competitive world depends entirely on access to the right kind of information at the right time. This entails the interconnection of computing resources, both at the intraorganisation and interorganisation levels. A Computer Network is an Interconnected collection of autonomous computers. Andrew s. Tenenbaum.

A network consists of two or more computers are linked in order to share resources (such as Printers and CD-ROMs), Exchange files, or allow electronic communications. The Computers on a network may be linked through cables, telephone lines, radio waves, satellites or infrared light beams.
Computer Network is interconnected connection of more than one individual computers. Two computers are said to be interconnected only if they are able to exchange information. With computers data communication is an active process of transferring data from one place to another and networks are the systems designed to convey information from one place to another.

Types of Network



LAN A network is said to be Local Area Network (LAN) if it is confined relatively to a small area. It is generally limited to a building or a geographical area, expanding not more than a mile apart to other computers.
When network is spread in small geographical area say 1-10 kilometers than it is known as LAN. These are widely used to connect individual computers in company, office, factory, laboratory etc. It is simple network. It is easy to used, manage, find errors and solve errors.

MAN - Metropolitan Area Network normally covers larger geographical areas, such as cities. Often used by local libraries and government agencies often to connect to citizens and private industries. It is next version of LAN and use same technology. It may cover a group of near by corporate office or city.







Here, all computers are attached with tow buses. At the both end there is terminator register, through which the data will be terminated. The traffic from left to right computer use upper bus and traffic from right computer to left use lower bus. MAN usually interconnects a number of Local Area Networks (LANs) using a high capacity backbone technology, such as fiber-optical links, and provides up-link services to Wide Area Networks (WAN) and internet. WAN - Wide Area Networks are formed when number of individual computer or network are connected with a large geographical area. It used for a country or continent. Wide Area Networks (WANs) connect large geographic areas, such as London, the UK or the world. In this type of network dedicated transoceanic cabling or satellite uplinks may be used. A wide area network is a computer network that covers a broad area (i.e,, any network whose communication links cross metropolitan, regional or national boundries

LANs, MANs and WANs are differentiated from each other on the basis of their size, data transmission technology and their network topology.

Components of Networking:
There are large variety of communication media that are used to interconnect computers. Twisted Pair Cable: it is one of the most common transmission media used in Networking. It consist of two insulated copper wires twisted around each other. The telephone network has been a major used of this kind of cable. Co-Axial Cable: Co-Axial cable contain a very thick copper wire at the centre. This wire is surrounded by insulating material, which in turn, is encased in a cylindrical conductor. The conductor is again wrapped in protective plastic. These cables are therefore able to provide higher bandwdth (1-2 Gbps on short distances) with superior noice immunity. Optical Fibres: Optical Fibres are made from ultra-thin Fibres of Glass. Information is sent on optical fibres in the form of light pulses, which when detected, generate electric pulses. Fibre optics can be used for LANs as well as for long distance transmissions. While supporting much higher bandwidth than copper, it is also much more reliable, has relatively lower attenuation and is much more difficult to tap.

Components of Networking: Satellite communication: it provides reliable data transmission over a

network of a large number of geographically distributed sites. Not only textual data, but images, voice and video are also transmitted over satellite networks. Satellite communication has been used in sectors such a television broadcasting and public telecommunications. Transmission costs depend on the network capacity and bandwidth -the distance between sending and receiving centre is immaterial in satellite communications. The reliability of satellite communications is reflected in reported network availability rates above 99.5% and bit error only one in every 1,00,00,000 bits transmitted. Satellite used for communications are almost exclusively in the geostationary orbit, located at 36000km above the equator. Satellites are launched and operated by organizations like intelsat, which offer data communication speeds ranging from 1200bps to several MBPS. Indian satellites are known as INSAT. The data communication speed in which Satallite operates are measured in C-band (64kbps or higher rates) and Kuband (in Gigahearts-GHz)

VSAT or Very Small Aperture Terminal

This is an end-user equipment used to receive and send data, images, voice and video over the satellite network. With a typical antenna size of 1.2 to 2.4metres, a VSAT gives full access to a network which may comprise hundreds or even thousands of nodes. Such a network would be extremely expensive to use if dedicated lines, whether terrestrial or satellite, were to e used. The interactive nature of a VSAT allows two-way communication from remote locations in the same manner as the terrestrial telephone network. VSAT are more reliable than normal leased lines as there is no question of digging or damage to the cables. In general, Fixed, Commercial VSAT systems use satellite transponders operating at C-band (uplink 6 GHz and downlink 4 GHz) or Ku-band (uplink 14 GHz and Downlink 12 Ghz). VSATs can be used by financial institutions such as banks to consolidate branch transactions, process loans, conduct banking through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and operate Electronic Fund Transer. VSATs have evolved from being a lowspeed data communication medium to handling multimedia requirements for transmission of voice, image and video.

The network protocol employed by the VSAT facilitates efficient transfer of data over the satellite link, white the multiple access scheme allows many users to share the satellite transponder resource.

Introduction to Computer Networks

Network Components
Physical Media
Interconnecting Devices Computers

Networking Software

Introduction to Computer Networks

Networking Media
Networking media can be defined simply as the means by which signals (data) are sent from one computer to another (either by cable or wireless means).

Introduction to Computer Networks

Networking Devices
HUB, Switches, Routers, Wireless Access Points, Modems etc.

Introduction to Computer Networks

Computers: Clients and Servers

In a client/server network arrangement, network services are located in a dedicated computer whose only function is to respond to the requests of clients.

The server contains the file, print, application, security, and other services in a central computer that is continuously available to respond to client requests.

A Router is a device that transfers data from one network to another in an intelligent way. It has the task of forwarding data packets to their destination by the most efficient route. In order to do this, the router has a micro computer inside it. This holds a table in memory that contains a list of all the networks it is connected to, along with the latest information on how busy each path in the network is, at that moment. This is called the 'routing table'.

When a data packet arrives, the router does the following: Reads the data packet's destination address Looks up all the paths it has available to get to that address. Checks on how busy each path is at the moment Sends the packet along the least congested (fastest) path.
Other tasks the Router can perform: Exchange Protocol information across networks (see page on protocols). Filter traffic - useful for preventing hacker attacks for example

All signals fade as they travel from one place to another. Each type of network cable has a maximum useable length. If you go beyond that length, the signal will be too weak to be useful. Of course, computers on a real network can easily be more than 200 metres apart. Therefore the network cable is split up into segments. Each segment is less than the maximum length allowed. Joining the segments together is a device known as a 'Repeater'. A Repeater boosts the signal back to its correct level. Here are some typical maximum cable lengths: Copper cable - 100 m Thick Ethernet -500m Thin Ethernet - 185m

Bridge does just what you would expect it to do - it joins two networks together so as far as data packets are concerned it looks like one large network A bridge is not as capable as a Router - but it is less expensive. Both networks have to be using the same protocol

There are many network topologies available:
Star - uses a hub Tree - uses a hub Bus - does not use a hub Ring - does not use a hub

To allow the Star and Tree network topologies to work properly, each computer must be able to send data packets to any other computer on the network. The network 'Hub' allows computers to share data packets within a network. Each computer will be connected to a single 'port' on the hub. So if you purchase an '8 port hub', you will be able to connect up to eight computers together. You can also 'daisy chain' hubs to allow even more computers to join the network. However there is a problem with doing this - see 'Switches' for more details.

A network cable can only have one data packet in it at any instant. So if two or more computers want to place a data packet on to the network at exactly the same time, then a 'data collision' will take place. The network protocol is set up to deal with this. Basically it declares the collided data as unusable and forces the two computers to re-send their data packets at a slightly different time. This is fine for a lightly loaded network with only a few computers on-line. You will not notice the small delay caused by data collisions. But imagine what happens when a hundred PCs are sharing the same network and they are all wanting to send their data packets. This will most likely result in thousands of data collisions per second - each one costing a small amount of time. You will certainly notice the network 'slowing down. A switch has a number of ports and it stores the addresses of all devices that are directly or indirectly connected to it on each port. As a data packet comes into the switch, its destination address is examined and a direct connection is made between the two machines.

A 'protocol' is a rather technical word. But it simply means an agreed method of doing something. You can have a 'Medical Protocol' or even a 'Dance Protocol' where you both agree to dance in the same style. The dancers below have agreed to follow the 'Tango' protocol -in this case, if they do not agree, it will surely result in sore feet and bruised shins! A 'NETWORK PROTOCOL' is the agreed method of communication to be used within the network. Each device / computer will use this protocol.

There are many different network protocols in use today. For example the large internet company called AOL has its own special email protocol. If your computer does not use the AOL protocol (and the chances are it won't). Then how do you get email to your friend on the AOL network? Answer: A gateway. A gateway converts the data passing between dissimilar networks so that each side can communicate with each other. i.e converts data into the correct network protocol. The gateway is a mixture of hardware components and software. This is unlike a standard 'Bridge' which simply joins two networks together that share the same protocol.

Not all data packets are equal. Some are more equal than others ( a bit of Animal Farm quotations creeping in!) If your network is to be kept secure it is often essential that some filtering takes place. For example, some staff wish to work from home with their laptops and they need to access files from within the company network. In this case a filter would be set up that accepts data packets coming from that particular laptop. Other filtering rules would block unwanted packets trying to come in. Just like Gateways, a Filter can be a mix of hardware and software components. Note that a filter can also prevent data packets from leaving the company network. For example, a rule could be set up that only allows an authorised server within the network to send data outside the local network. A filter is an essential component of a 'Firewall'.

In some small networks, every machine is equally likely to have a resource that another machine needs to use. For example a small home network may be set up like this: There are files stored on each computer. One machine is linked to the scanner, whilst another is linked to a printer. The game machine is linked to the internet, which all three machines can use. This is fine for small networks as the number of requests to use a resource is not going to be too high. Printer Server.:But now imagine there are a dozen computers on the network and each one needs to print out a document every few minutes. The machine that is connected to the printer is going to be tied up most of the time. In this case it makes sense to allocate a machine exclusively to service printer requests. This machine is called a 'printer server

File server: Consider a network of a dozen computers. There could be thousands of files scattered across each machine. Two problems arise: a) how do you find the file you need? b) how do you back up your data to keep it safe? The solution is to keep all your files on one computer. This machine is called the 'file server'.

Database server. Many companies rely on a central store of information to run their operations. Information such as sales and stock data is usually kept in a database.Very often a machine will be dedicated to run a specific database. This machine is called a 'database server'

A 'Proxy' is another word for 'Substitute'. Imagine you have become a multi-millionaire overnight. All the world's press want to know your story. Instead of handling all this yourself, you hire a 'public relations' professional You tell her what you want to say and she will present your story to the press in the best light. On the other hand, she will also reject unwanted interviews, thus saving you the hassle. She is your 'Proxy'. The Proxy Server. This machine has the two main tasks: Supply authorised internal users with web pages Supply external users with authorised information and services. Quite often staff tend to use the same web sites over and over again. So to speed up access and reduce bandwidth costs, the Proxy server will keep a local copy of the web pages and serve these to the user instead. Of course rules running on the proxy server will determine how often these local pages need to be updated. The proxy server also acts as a filter: Prevents unauthorised users from accessing external networks such as the internet. Prevents unauthorised web sites to be accessed (stops time wasting!) Provides a web service to external clients, but does not allow them through to the internal network itself. For example a bank web site would be running a proxy service. In a way, the proxy server is the outward facing aspect of the company linked to the internet.

'Modem' is a made-up word. Originally engineers called it the 'MODulation DEModulation' box. But it was such a mouthful that naturally they ended up calling it the MODEM. A modem converts the digital data from the computer into a continuous analogue wave form that the telephone system is designed to deal with (MODulation). The reason for this is that the telephone system was originally designed for the human voice i.e. continuous signals. The modem also converts the analogue signal from the telephone network back into digital data that the computer can understand. (DEModulation). Standard modems come in two forms. An external box that links to your computer either through a serial or USB port, or an internal modem that is plugged directly to the motherboard inside the computer.Up to quite recent times, modems connected to the standard telephone line at speeds up to 56 kilobits per second. This was OK until broadband became available which offers ten times the speed. However many people still have to use a 56Kb modem to connect to the internet because their local exchange has not been converted to broadband as yet. Wi-Fi modems In addition to telephone modems, radio has now become very popular as a means of connecting to the internet. The device that allows you to do this is called the Wi-Fi modem

CABLES: How do you transfer data from one point to another on a network? This has to be

done by some physical effect. There are three main methods of transferring data: Electrical Radio or Microwave Infrared Electrical: A multi-wired cable with a socket at each end is used to connect the various devices together e.g. computer to hub, hub to switch or switch to router etc. The Ethernet network cable shown above transfers data by means of electrical signals. A typical network cable called 'Cat 5' is used which is especially designed to carry the signal as efficiently as possible. Radio or Microwave Microwaves are just a small part of the radio spectrum, but because they are so widely used, they tend to be called by their own name. Data is sent out through aerials mounted on tall towers. The 'cable' is effectively the microwave link between towers. Some large companies use microwave towers spread along hilltops to allow one office to communicate with others in the same country. They do this because it is cheaper than renting telephone lines for carrying the same amount of data. On a much smaller scale, laptops can communicate with the local area network with radio links:

Introduction to Computer Networks

E-mail Searchable Data (Web Sites) E-Commerce News Groups Internet Telephony (VoIP) Video Conferencing Chat Groups Instant Messengers Internet Radio

There are different topologies in which computers can be connected to one another over networks. The various topologies that networks can be built around are discussed below. BUS This topology is commonly used to build LANs. Every node connected on a Bus network is allowed to receive every transmission on that network. The main problem faced in implementing this topology is the fact that only one communication channel exists to serve the entire network. As a result, if this channel fails, then the whole network will go out of operation.

There is no need of external electronic device to construct the network It is constructed using a single cable. It is simple, cheaper and easy to maintain If any computer fails then it does not affect the entire network Disadvantages There is only a single cable of transmission, so it this cable fails the entire network system. It is only applicable in small geographical area.

It is another topology used for configuring networks. The data in a ring Topology flows in a circular fashion. Mostly data flows in one direction, with one node receiving the transmission and relaying It to the next node in the ring. Here too, there are single channel to connect the nodes. In the even of channel failure between two nodes, the entire network goes down. Network suppliers sometimes develop ring networks with two rings so that in case of the single channel failure, the network continues to function. This topology too is more commonly deployed in LANs.

Advantages: There is no need of external electronic device to construct the network Easier to manage, easier to locate a defective node or cable problem It is simple, cheaper & easy to maintain Well suited for trasmitting signals over long distances on a LAN Handles high-volume network traffic & data travels as greater speed. Disadvantages It is time consuming process, Addition of devices affect network More cabling is required compared to bus

STAR The topology of the star network normally used in WANs. At the centre of the star network is the hub through which all traffic is routed. As a result in the even of the failure of the hub computer, the network too will fail.

Advantage: It is easy to install, configure, manage and expand. If any of the computers fails, it does not affect the network Centralised mangement Disadvantage: If the central server or hub switch fail then, entire network fail. It is more expensive as compare to ring topology & bus topology It requires more cable in compare to BUS & Ring topology

Mesh The mesh topology is used mostly in recent years. Due to the multiple number of paths between nodes, the reliability of the network is improved. However, this improvement comes for a price, and mesh networks are much more expensive as compared to networks based on other topologies.

Advantage: It is used fro large geographical area. If any of the computers fails, it does not affect the network If any of the Hub switch fail, then respective network disturb Disadvantage: To make mesh network require more cable. So, it is expensive The route become complex. So it difficult to maintain

TREE The tree, or a hierarchical network topology is one of the simpler and more common topologies found today. Reliability problem can arise in this configuration due to the control exercised by the topmost node in the Tree. This topology too is used to set up WANs.

Advantage: It is used fro large geographical area. If any of the computers fails, it does not affect the network If any of the Hub switch fail, then respective network disturb
Disadvantage: It is expensive If the main Hub switch fails then the entire network Disturbs.

Hybrid Hybrid topology is connection of more than two network topology. It can be star-bus topology, Star-mesh topology, bus-mesh topology. Hybrid topology is also known as tree topology.

Advantage: It is used fro large geographical area. If any of the computers fails, it does not affect the network Transfer data grater speed.

Disadvantage: It is expensive It is very complex to setup network