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What is a network?

• A network consists of
two or more
computers that are
linked in order to:
• share resources (such
as printers and CD-
• exchange files, or
• allow electronic
• A network makes it easier to communicate
(between computers)
• Eg an email is faster than ‘normal mail’

• There are 2 major ways networks advantage
people and organisations
1. Save money by sharing resources
2. Remote services
1. Save money by sharing resources
• Eg teacher sends notes via email instead of printing, photocopying,
collating, stapling & handing out
• Sharing internet connection resources
• Many people able to use one connection
• Sharing printing resources
• Many people able to use one printer
• Sharing other resources
• Like faxes, CD-ROM towers, network storage & directory services
2. Remote services
• Eg customers ordering over the internet
• Eg business to business transactions
• Gives customers more control (and reduces 3rd
party errors/ human errors)
• Eg ATMs
• The cost of equipment used to connect a
computer to a network is now relatively

• The software used to control networks
has developed and improved so that
most users do not know there is software
handling such tasks
• The use of networks has become
“transparent” to the user
How are they linked?

• Computers on a
network may be linked
• cables,
• telephone lines,
• radio waves, satellites
• wireless technologies
• Cable TV
• (traffic is just one way)

• Telephone system
• (traffic is two-way)

• Mobile phones
• (use radio waves rather than cables or wires)
The two basic types of networks
• Local Area

• Wide Area
Networks WAN
Local area networks

• LANs are confined to a relatively small area
such as a school or a building
• LANs usually have one computer designated
as the file server
• Other computers are connected to the network
by cables connecting network interface cards
in each computer
Wide Area Networks

• WANs connect larger
areas, such as whole
states, or even the
• Transoceanic cables
and satellites are used
to connect WANs

• A protocol is a set of PROTOCOL =
rules that governs the COMMUNICATIONS

communications BETWEEN
between computers on a
• These rules include
guidelines that regulate
the method of access,
types of cabling and
speed of data transfer
The most common protocols are:

• Ethernet
• Local Protocol = a formal
Talk description of a set of
• Token rules and conventions
that govern how
devices on a network
exchange information

Did you ever wonder what HTTP in web addresses
was about? It stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol

• Most widely used
• Uses an access method
called CSMA/CD
(Carrier Sense Multiple
What does that mean?
• Each computer in the
network ‘listens’ to the A bit like waiting for
cable before sending your younger sister to
anything through the get off the telephone
network. If the network is perhaps?
clear, the computer will
• If another computer is
already transmitting on the
cable, the computer will
wait and try again when
the line is clear
Ethernet (continued)
• Sometimes, two computers
attempt to transmit at the same
instant. When this happens, a
collision occurs. Each computer
then backs off and waits a random
amount of time before attempting
to retransmit.It is normal to have
collisions using this method, but CSMA/CD =Carrier
the delays caused by collisions Sense Multiple
and transmissions is small, and Access /Collision
does not effect speed of Detection
transmission on the network
Ethernet (continued)

• Ethernet protocol
allows for data to be
transmitted over:
• twisted pair cable
• coaxial cable
• fiber optic cable
Fast Ethernet

• To allow for faster
transmission, the
Ethernet protocol has
developed a new
standard that supports
100 Mbps
• Fast Ethernet requires
the use of more
expensive equipment
and network cards
Gigabit Ethernet

• The Ethernet protocol
has also developed a
new standard that One gigabit per
allows transmission of second = one
1 Gbps (gigabit per thousand
second) megabits per
Local Talk
• Local Talk is a network
protocol that was developed
by Apple for Macintosh
• Local Talk uses the
CSMA/CA method (Carrier
Sense Multiple Access with
Collision Avoidance) which
works in a similar way to
• It is a lot slower than
Ethernet (only 230 Kbps)
Token Ring
• Token ring
protocol involves
• It is not as popular A single electronic ‘token’
as Ethernet moves around the ring from
one computer to the next. If a
protocol computer wishes to transit
and receives an empty token,
it attaches data to the token
which then proceeds around
the ring until it comes to the
computer the data is meant

• Stands for Fiber
Distributed Data
• Is used mainly to
connect two or more
LANs, often over
large distances
• Can operate over fiber
optic cable at 100
• Stands for Asynchronous
Transfer Mode
• Transmit data at a speed of
155 Mbps and higher
• Works by transmitting all
data in small packets of
fixed size (other protocols
transfer variable size
• Like FDDI , is most often
used to connect two or more
Where does TCP/IP fit into all
• TCP/IP is the protocol that is used for the
transmission of information over the Internet
• IP (Internet Protocol) - the main delivery system for
information over the Internet
• TCP (Transport Control Protocol) - used to break
apart and rebuild information that travels over the
Network Hardware

• Network hardware
• Computers
• Peripherals
• Interface cards and
• Other equipment
needed to perform data
processing and
communications within
the network
File servers
• A very fast computer
with a large amount of
RAM and storage
space along with a fast
network interface card
• The network operating
system software
resides on this

• All computers
connected to the file
server on a network
are called workstations
Network interface cards
• The network interface card
(NIC) provides the physical
connection between the
network and the computer
• Most NICs are internal with
the card fitting into an
expansion slot in the
• Three common network
interface connections are
Ethernet cards, Local Talk
connectors and Token Ring
Ethernet cards

• The most common
Network Interface
Cards are Ethernet cable
• They contain
connections for either
coaxial or twisted pair
cables, or both Twisted
pair cable
Concentrators / Hubs
• A concentrator is a device that
provides a central connection
point for cables from
workstations, servers and
• Hubs are multi-slot concentrators
• A hub is a device that takes any
incoming signal and re-
broadcasts it down all the
outgoing wires connected to it
• Hubs can have from 5 ports to
128 ports
• Can transmit & receive at up to
• While hubs provide an easy
way to scale up and shorten the
distance that the packets must
travel to get from one node to
another, they do not break up
the actual network into discrete
segments. That is where
switches come in.

• An alternative to hubs are switches
• A switch stores the address of every device down each wire leading from
the switch
• Usually found in larger networks
Switches (continued)
• A vital difference between a hub and a switch is that
all the nodes connected to a hub share the bandwidth
among themselves, while a device connected to a
switch port has the full bandwidth all to itself.
• Think of a switch as a ‘clever’ hub

• A signal loses strength as it passes along a
cable, so it is often necessary to boost the
signal with a device called a repeater
• A repeater might be a separate device, or
might be part of a concentrator

• A bridge is a device that allows you to
segment a large network into two
smaller, more efficient networks
• A router translates
information from one network
to another
• The router directs traffic to
prevent “head-on” collisions
• If you have a LAN that you
want to connect to the
Internet, you will need a
router to serve as the
translator between
information on your LAN and
the Internet
Routers (continued)

• A modem is a device that is used to send a
computer’s digital signal over a telephone
line – where the signal must be changed to
• Different types of modems:
• Dial-up
• Integrated Services Digital Network (IDSN or
• Cable
• Network cabling is the
medium through which
information usually
moves from one network
device to another
• There are several
different types of cable
commonly used in
• Some networks use a
variety of cable types
within the one network
Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)
• Twisted pair cables come in
two varieties: shielded and
unshielded. Unshielded
(UTP) is the most popular
• Shielded twisted pair is
used only in environments
where there may be
electrical interference
UTP (continued)
• UTP has four pairs of wires inside the jacket
• Each pair is twisted with a different number of twists per
inch to help eliminate interference from adjacent pairs
UTP Connector

• The standard
connector for UTP
cabling is an RJ-45. It
looks like a telephone
style connection
Coaxial cable
• Coaxial cable has a single copper conductor at its
centre with a plastic layer between the centre
conductor and the braided metal shield
• Although coaxial cabling is difficult to install, it is
highly resistant to signal interference
Coaxial cable connectors
• Carries data at 10Mbps over 185metres
• Carries signal both directions, usually used when no hubs or
• The most common type of connector used with coaxial cables is
the BNC connector
Fiber Optic Cable
• Fiber optic cabling consists of a center glass core
surrounded by several layers of protective materials
• It transmits light rather than electronic signals
• It is the standard for connecting networks between
buildings, due to its immunity to the effects of
moisture and light
Fiber Optic (continued)
• Fiber optic cable has the ability to transmit signals over
much longer distances than coaxial or twisted pair
• It can also carry information at vastly greater speeds
(Transmits light pulses up to 2km & over 1000
frequencies can be transmitted along a strand at one
• Fiber optic cable is more difficult to install than other
cabling & is expensive
Wireless LANS
• Wireless networks use high frequency radio signals to
communicate between the workstations and the fileserver
or hubs.
• Becoming the way of the future. Why?
• Disadvantages of wireless networks are:
• they are expensive (relatively),
• provide poor security,
• are susceptible to interference and
• are slower than cabled networks
Wireless Transmission

• Wireless transmission includes the use of:
• Radio waves
• Bluetooth
• Microwaves
• Satellite
• Infra-Red
Network Operating Software

• Network operating systems
co-ordinate the activities of
multiple computers across a
• The two major types of
network OS are:
• Peer-to-peer
• Client/server
Peer to peer network OS
• In peer to peer network OS, there is
no file server or central
management source; all computers
are considered equal
• Peer to peer networks are design
primarily for small to medium
• AppleShare and Windows for
Workgroups are examples of
programs that can function as peer
to peer
Client/Server network OS
• Client/server network OS
centralise functions and
applications in one or more
dedicated file servers.
• The file server provides access
to resources and provides
• Novelle Netware and Windows
NT Server are examples of
client/server network operating
Network Operating Systems
• There are 3 major network operating systems used
with personal computers
• Windows (2000 then XP now - Vista)
• Novell
• Apple
• The network operating system is software that
controls traffic on the network and defines how well
we communicate with each other
• Having all machines in a network use the same
operating system is preferable, especially for
instructions & maintenance

• The physical topology of a network refers to the
configuration of cables, computers and other
• The main types of network topologies are:
• Linear Bus
• Star
• Ring
• Tree or Hybrid
Linear Bus
• A linear bus topology consists of a main run of cable
with a terminator at each end. All servers
workstations and peripherals are connected to the
linear cable

• A star network is
designed with each
node (file server,
connected directly to
a central network
hub or server

• A ring network is one
where all workstations
and other devices are
connected in a
continuous loop.
There is no central
Tree or hybrid
• A tree or hybrid
topology combines
characteristics of
linear bus and star
and/or ring
• It consists of groups
of star-configured
connected to a linear
bus backbone cable
1. Improvements in efficiency
• Save time (single resource, many users – no queues)
• Save money (single resource, many users)
• Save effort (don’t need to move from machine to
• Communication is simpler & faster (instant – in ‘real
2. Improvements in effectiveness
• Because communication is easier & faster, people are
more likely to communicate
• As well as improved quantity & speed, quality has also
been improved (eg group work & instant updates & less
3. Improvements in information systems
• Networks allow data to be shared among users and
enables users to retrieve information from more than
one source
• This synchronisation avoids data duplication
• Data manipulation can be spread over a number of
computers, speeding up processing
4. Improvements in meeting organisational goals
• Save time by having multiple users working on same data set
• Also when passing on data to other workers, there is very
little time & effort involved if networks are used for the data
• Improved productivity thanks to improved efficiency &
Network Security
Encryption Software
• Makes normally readable plain text a mixture of
• This ‘scrambling’ is done using algorithms

Eg Chris may become…
Network Security
Usernames &
• Network policies, profiles –Many organisations
now use networks to enable employees to access
data stored in different locations
• To enable employees to gain access to some files but
not others, a network administrator will establish a
series of network policies and profiles
• For example, needing a username and password
Network Security
• Firewalls are based on a combination of hardware and
software that only allow authorised network traffic to pass
through the ‘gate’ which they protect
Network Security
Anti-Virus & Malware Protection

• Protects computers by
detecting the presence of
viruses as the machine
boots up
• Scans files for virus
signatures, or virus-like
• Can be automatically
removed or a warning
flashed to the user
Logical Design of a Network
• Logical Design Factors:
• Ability to fulfil required functions
• Software Interface
• Ease of Hardware Use
• Procedures
• Applications
• Cost
• Security
• Access to required information & resources
• Inclusiveness
• LAN protocol
• Expansion potential
• Compatibility of components
Physical Design of Networks

• Often networks can become very
• A way of visually showing the physical
devices & communication lines present
in a network is with a network diagram
Network Diagram