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Components of a computer network A network is a combination of different components. The most essential components of a simple network are listed below: Servers: Servers are faster computers that run various software’s, store and process information and also provide a human interface for the users to be able to use the networked computers. Nodes: Nodes are the computers on the network, which are provided to the users to carry out their tasks using the network. Workstation: A node, which is more powerful, and can handle local information processing or graphics processing is called a workstation. The workstation works only for the person sitting in front of it, where as a server serves all the people on the network to share its resources. A workstation usually has an inexpensive, small hard disk to carry out local tasks. Some workstations, called diskless workstations, have no disk drive of their own. Such workstations also called dumb terminals and they rely completely on the LAN for their access. The network operating system lets the nodes work as if all the resources at the server belong to the node itself. Network Operating System (NOS): The network requires some software to control all the information transfer activity on the network, like the traffic police to control the traffic. The software called NOS handles these tasks. Networks, which are more complex, require network devices like hubs, switches & routers to carry out different network functions. LAN Software: On the network, each computer is called a node or a workstation unless there are certain computers designed as servers. LAN cables connect all the nodes and servers together to form the network. In addition to its local disk operating system, each node requires networking software that enable the nodes to communicate with the servers. In return, the file servers run network software that communicates with the nodes. LAN Cable: This is the medium or channel over which the information travels from computer to computer. The information travels from one computer onto the medium and then from the medium to another computer in the form that it can be read. Network Interface Card: Each computer contains a network interface card. This card is used to connect the cables to the computers. These cards help the computer to transfer the data at a faster rate and in the form of packets. These cards are plugged into the computer motherboard. These cards are generally called as Ethernet cards.
2. Differentiate LAN and WAN. Answer
Local Area Networks are generally called LANs. They are privately owned networks within a single building or campus of up to few kilometers in size. Most of LAN’s use Bus or ring topology for connection. They are used to connect personal computers and workstations in company offices and factories to share resources and exchange information. Traditional LANs run at speeds of 10Mbps to 100Mbps, have low delay (microseconds and nanoseconds) and make very few errors. Newer LANs operate at 10Gbps. various topologies are possible for broadcast LANs. A wide area network is referred as WAN. WAN spans a large geographical area often a continent or country. WAN contains a collection of machines, traditionally called as hosts. These hosts can be on LANs and are connected by a subnet or also called communication subnet. The hosts are owned by customers or are personal computers. The communication subnets are owned by a telephone company or internet service provider. The subnet carries the messages from hosts to hosts, just as telephone system carries words from speaker to listener. Each host is connected to a LAN on which a router is present. Sometimes a host may be connected directly to a router. The collection of communication lines and routers is called a communication subnet. In most WANs, the network contains many transmission lines each connecting a pair of routers. A packet is sent from one router to another via one or more intermediate routers. The packet is received at each intermediate router in its entirety. That is store the packet in full until the required output line is free, and then forwards it. A subnet that works according to this principle is called store and forward or packet switched subnet. Not all WANs are packet switched. A second possibility for a WAN is a satellite system. Satellite networks are inherently broadcast networks.
3. Explain the TCP/IP Reference Model with diagram.
The TCP/IP reference model is the network model used in the current Internet architecture. It was created in the 1970s by DARPA for use in developing the Internet's protocols, and the structure of the Internet is still closely reflected by the TCP/IP model. It has fewer, less rigidly defined layers than the commonly referenced OSI model, and thus provides an easier fit for real world protocols. It is considered as the grandfather of the Internet, the ARPANET. This was a research network sponsored by the Department of Defense in the United States. A goal was of continuing the conversation between source and destination even if transmission went out of operation. The reference model was named after two of its main protocols, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and IP (Internet Protocol). No document officially specifies the model. Different names are given to the layers by different documents, and different numbers of layers are shown by different documents. There are versions of this model with four layers and with five layers. It consists of the following four layers · Layer 4 – Process Layer or Application Layer: This is where the "higher level" protocols such as FTP, HTTP, etc. operate. The original TCP/IP specification described a number of different applications that fit into the top layer of the protocol stack. These applications include Telnet, FTP, SMTP and DNS. Telnet is a program that supports the TELNET protocol over TCP. TELNET is a general two-way communication protocol that can be used to connect to another host and run applications on that host remotely. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a protocol that was originally designed to promote the sharing of files among computer users. It shields the user from the variations of file storage on different architectures and allows for a reliable and efficient transfer of data. SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) is the protocol used to transport electronic mail from one computer to another through a series of other computers along the route. DNS (Domain Name System) resolves the numerical address of a network node into its textual name or vice-versa. It would translate www.yahoo.com to 188.8.131.52 to allow the routing protocols to find the host that the packet is destined for. Layer 3 – Host-To-Host (Transport) Layer: This is where flow-control and connection protocols exist, such as TCP. This layer deals with opening and maintaining connections, ensuring that packets are in fact received. The transport layer is the interface between the application layer and the complex hardware of the network. It is designed to allow peer entities on the source and destination hosts to carry on conversations. Data may be user data or control data. Two modes are available, full-duplex and half duplex. In full-duplex operation, both sides can transmit and receive data simultaneously, whereas in half duplex, a side can only send or receive at one time. Layer 2 – Internet or Internetworking Layer: This layer defines IP addresses, with many routing schemes for navigating packets from one IP address to another. The job of the network layer is to inject packets into any network and have them travel independently to the destination. The layer defines IP (Internet Protocol) for its official packet format and protocol. Packet routing is a major job of this protocol. Layer 1 – Network Access Layer: This layer describes the physical equipment necessary for communications, such as twisted pair cables, the signaling used on that equipment, and the low-level protocols using that signaling. The Host-to-Network layer interfaces the TCP/IP protocol stack to the physical network. The TCP/IP reference model does not specify in any great detail the operation of this layer, except that the host has to connect to the network using some protocol so it can send IP packets over it. As it is not officially defined, it varies from implementation to implementation, with vendors supplying their own version.
TCP/IP Network Protocol The basic idea of the networking system is to allow one application on a host computer to talk to another application on a different host computer. The application forms its request, then passes the packet down to the lower layers, which add their own control information, either a header or a footer, onto the packet. Finally the packet reaches the physical layer and is transmitted through the cable onto the destination host. The packet then travels up through the different layers, with each layer reading, deciphering, and removing the header or footer that was attached by its counterpart on the originating computer. Finally the packet arrives at the application it was destined for. Even though technically each layer communicates with the layer above or below it, the process can be viewed as one layer talking to its partner on the host.
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of layered architecture in a network? Answer
Advantages of Layered Architecture · Any given layer can be modified or upgraded without affecting the other layers. · Modulazition by means of layering simplifies the overall design. · Different layers can be assigned to different standards, committees, and design teams. · Mechanisms like packet-switching, circuit-switching may be used without effecting more than one layer. · Different machines may be plugged in at different layers. · The relation between different control functions can be better understood. · Common lower levels may be shared by different higher levels. · Functions (especially at lower levels) may be removed from software to hardware and micro-codes. · Increases the compatibility of different machines. Disadvantages of Layered Architecture · Total overhead is higher. · Two communicating machines may have to use certain functions which they could do without layers. · As technology changes, the functions may not be in the most cost-effective layer.
5. What are the problems due to which transmission lines suffers mainly? Answer
Transmission lines suffers from three major problems 1. Attenuation distortion 2. Delay distortion 3. Noise Attenuation distortion Is the loss of energy as the signal propagates outward. The amount of energy depends on the frequency. If the attenuation is too much, the receiver may not be able to detect the signal at all, or the signal may fall below the noise level. For reliable communication, the attenuation and delay over the range of frequencies of transmission should be constant.
Signals loose power at it travels time. Delay distortion The second transmission impairment is delay distortion. Communication lines have distributed inductance and capacitance, which distort the amplitude of signals and also delay the signals at different frequencies by different amounts. It is caused by the fact that different Fourier components travel at different speed. It is due to velocity of propagation that varies with frequency. Thus, various frequency components of a signal arrive at the receiver at different times.
Delay distortion For digital data, fast components from one bit may catch up and over take slow component from bit ahead, mixing the two bits and increasing the probability of incorrect reception. Thus very critical in particular for digital data, that is because signal components of bit positions spill into other bit positions, and so limiting the allowed rate of transmission. Noise Noise is a third impairment. It can be define as unwanted energy from sources other than the transmitter. Thermal noise is caused by the random motion of the electrons in a wire and is unavoidable.
6. Describe Circuit switching and message switching. Answer
Circuit switching A circuit switching network is one that establishes a dedicated circuit (or channel) between nodes and terminals before the users may communicate. Each circuit that is dedicated cannot be used by other callers until the circuit is released and a new connection is set up. Even if no actual communication is taking place in a dedicated circuit then, that channel still remains unavailable to other users. Channels that are available for new calls to be set up are said to be idle. Circuit switching is used for ordinary telephone calls. It allows communications equipment and circuits, to be shared among users. Each user has sole access to a circuit (functionally equivalent to a pair of copper wires) during network use. Circuit switching can be relatively inefficient because capacity is wasted on connections which are set up but are not in continuous use (however momentarily). On the other hand, the connection is immediately available and capacity is guaranteed until the call is disconnected Communication using circuit switching involves three phases discussed below: 1. Connection establishment: Before any signal can be transmitted, an end to end circuit must be established. 2. Data transfer: Information can now be transmitted from source through the network to the destination using the dedicated path established. 3. Termination: After some period of data transfer, the connection is terminated Message switching Message switching was the precursor of packet switching, where messages were routed in their entirety and one hop at a time. It was first introduced by Leonard Kleinrock in 1961. Message switching systems are nowadays mostly implemented over packet-switched or circuit-switched data networks Hop-by-hop Telex forwarding are examples of message switching systems. E-mail is another example of a message switching system. When this form of switching is used, no physical path is established in advance in between sender and receiver. Instead, when the sender has a block of data to be sent, it is stored in the first switching office (i.e. router) then forwarded later at one hop at a time. Each block is received in its entity form, inspected for errors and then forwarded or retransmitted. It is a form of store-and-forward network. Data is transmitted into the network and stored in a switch. The network transfers the data from switch to switch when it is convenient to do so, as such the data is not transferred in real-time. Blocking can not occur, however, long delays can happen. The source and destination terminal need not be compatible, since conversions are done by the message switching networks. Again consider a connection of a network shown in figure 4.6. For instance, when a telex (or email) message is sent from A to D, it first passes over a local connection (AB). It is then passed at some later time to C (via link BC), and from there to the destination (via link CD). At each message switch, the received message is stored, and a connection is subsequently made to deliver the message to the neighboring message switch. Message switching is also known as store-and-forward switching since the messages are stored at intermediate nodes en route to their destinations.
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