1 1 Requirements for the internet connection

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2.1.5 Network protocols

Protocol suites are collections of protocols that enable network communication from one host through the network to another host. A protocol is a formal description of a set of rules and conventions that govern a particular aspect of how devices on a network communicate. Protocols determine the format, timing, sequencing, and error control in data communication. Without protocols, the computer cannot make or rebuild the stream of incoming bits from another computer into the original format.

Protocols control all aspects of data communication, which include the following:

  • How the physical network is built

  • How computers connect to the network

  • How the data is formatted for transmission

  • How that data is sent

  • How to deal with errors

These network rules are created and maintained by many different organizations and committees. Included in these groups are the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), formerly known as the Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique (CCITT).

2.1.6 Local-area networks(LANs)

LANs consist of the following components:

  • Computers

  • Network interface cards

  • Peripheral devices

  • Networking media

  • Network devices

LANs make it possible for businesses that use computer technology to locally share files and printers efficiently, and make internal communications possible. A good example of this technology is e-mail. They tie data, local communications, and computing equipment together.

Some common LAN technologies are:

  • Ethernet

  • Token Ring

  • FDDI

2.1.7 Wide-area networks(WANs)

WANs interconnect LANs, which then provide access to computers or file servers in other locations. Because WANs connect user networks over a large geographical area, they make it possible for businesses to communicate across great distances. Using WANs allows computers, printers, and other devices on a LAN to share and be shared with distant locations. WANs provide instant communications across large geographic areas. The ability to send an instant message (IM) to someone anywhere in the world provides the same communication capabilities that used to be only possible if people were in the same physical office. Collaboration software provides access to real-time information and resources that allows meetings to be held remotely, instead of in person. Wide-area networking has also created a new class of workers called telecommuters, people who never have to leave their homes to go to work.

WANs are designed to do the following:

  • Operate over a large geographically separated areas

  • Allow users to have real-time communication capabilities with other users

  • Provide full-time remote resources connected to local services

  • Provide e-mail, World Wide Web, file transfer, and e-commerce services

Some common WAN technologies are:

  • Modems

  • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

  • Frame Relay

  • US (T) and Europe (E) Carrier Series – T1, E1, T3, E3

  • Synchronous Optical Network (SONET)

2.1.8 Metropolitan-area networks(MANs)

A MAN is a network that spans a metropolitan area such as a city or suburban area. A MAN usually consists of two or more LANs in a common geographic area. For example, a bank with multiple branches may utilize a MAN. Typically, a service provider is used to connect two or more LAN sites using private communication lines or optical services. A MAN can also be created using wireless bridge technology by beaming signals across public areas.

2.1.9 Storage-area networks(SANs)

A SAN is a dedicated, high-performance network used to move data between servers and storage resources. Because it is a separate, dedicated network, it avoids any traffic conflict between clients and servers.

SAN technology allows high-speed server-to-storage, storage-to-storage, or server-to-server connectivity. This method uses a separate network infrastructure that relieves any problems associated with existing network connectivity.

SANs offer the following features:

  • Performance – SANs enable concurrent access of disk or tape arrays by two or more servers at high speeds, providing enhanced system performance.

  • Availability – SANs have disaster tolerance built in, because data can be mirrored using a SAN up to 10 kilometers (km) or 6.2 miles away.

  • Scalability – Like a LAN/WAN, it can use a variety of technologies. This allows easy relocation of backup data, operations, file migration, and data replication between systems.

2.1.10 Virtual private network(VPN)

A VPN is a private network that is constructed within a public network infrastructure such as the global Internet. Using VPN, a telecommuter can access the network of the company headquarters through the Internet by building a secure tunnel between the telecommuter’s PC and a VPN router in the headquarters.

2.1.11 Benefits of VPNs

Cisco products support the latest in VPN technology. A VPN is a service that offers secure, reliable connectivity over a shared public network infrastructure such as the Internet. VPNs maintain the same security and management policies as a private network. They are the most cost-effective method of establishing a point-to-point connection between remote users and an enterprise customer's network.

The following are the three main types of VPNs:

  • Access VPNs – Access VPNs provide remote access to a mobile worker and small office/home office (SOHO) to the headquarters of the Intranet or Extranet over a shared infrastructure. Access VPNs use analog, dialup, ISDN, digital subscriber line (DSL), mobile IP, and cable technologies to securely connect mobile users, telecommuters, and branch offices.

  • Intranet VPNs – Intranet VPNs link regional and remote offices to the headquarters of the internal network over a shared infrastructure using dedicated connections. Intranet VPNs differ from Extranet VPNs in that they allow access only to the employees of the enterprise.

  • Extranet VPNs – Extranet VPNs link business partners to the headquarters of the network over a shared infrastructure using dedicated connections. Extranet VPNs differ from Intranet VPNs in that they allow access to users outside the enterprise.

2.1.12 Intranets and extranets

One common configuration of a LAN is an Intranet. Intranet Web servers differ from public Web servers in that the public must have the proper permissions and passwords to access the Intranet of an organization. Intranets are designed to permit access by users who have access privileges to the internal LAN of the organization. Within an Intranet, Web servers are installed in the network. Browser technology is used as the common front end to access information such as financial data or graphical, text-based data stored on those servers.

Extranets refer to applications and services that are Intranet based, and use extended, secure access to external users or enterprises. This access is usually accomplished through passwords, user IDs, and other application-level security. Therefore, an Extranet is the extension of two or more Intranet strategies with a secure interaction between participant enterprises and their respective intranets.

2.2 Bandwidth

2.2.1 Importance of bandwidth

Bandwidth is defined as the amount of information that can flow through a network connection in a given period of time. It is essential to understand the concept of bandwidth when studying networking for the following four reasons:

Bandwidth is finite.
In other words, regardless of the media used to build the network, there are limits on the capacity of that network to carry information. Bandwidth is limited by the laws of physics and by the technologies used to place information on the media. For example, the bandwidth of a conventional modem is limited to about 56 kbps by both the physical properties of twisted-pair phone wires and by modem technology. However, the technologies employed by DSL also use the same twisted-pair phone wires, yet DSL provides much greater bandwidth than is available with conventional modems. So, even the limits imposed by the laws of physics are sometimes difficult to define. Optical fiber has the physical potential to provide virtually limitless bandwidth. Even so, the bandwidth of optical fiber cannot be fully realized until technologies are developed to take full advantage of its potential.

Bandwidth is not free.
It is possible to buy equipment for a local-area network (LAN) that will provide nearly unlimited bandwidth over a long period of time. For wide-area network (WAN) connections, it is almost always necessary to buy bandwidth from a service provider. In either case, an understanding of bandwidth and changes in demand for bandwidth over a given time can save an individual or a business a significant amount of money. A network manager needs to make the right decisions about the kinds of equipment and services to buy.

Bandwidth is a key factor in analyzing network performance, designing new networks, and understanding the Internet.
A networking professional must understand the tremendous impact of bandwidth and throughput on network performance and design. Information flows as a string of bits from computer to computer throughout the world. These bits represent massive amounts of information flowing back and forth across the globe in seconds or less. In a sense, it may be appropriate to say that the Internet is bandwidth.

The demand for bandwidth is ever increasing.
As soon as new network technologies and infrastructures are built to provide greater bandwidth, new applications are created to take advantage of the greater capacity. The delivery over the network of rich media content, including streaming video and audio, requires tremendous amounts of bandwidth. IP telephony systems are now commonly installed in place of traditional voice systems, which further adds to the need for bandwidth. The successful networking professional must anticipate the need for increased bandwidth and act accordingly.

2.2.2 Analogies

Bandwidth has been defined as the amount of information that can flow through a network in a given time. The idea that information flows suggests two analogies that may make it easier to visualize bandwidth in a network. Since both water and traffic are said to flow, consider the following analogies:

Bandwidth is like the width of a pipe.
A network of pipes brings fresh water to homes and businesses and carries waste water away. This water network is made up of pipes of different diameters. The main water pipes of a city may be two meters in diameter, while the pipe to a kitchen faucet may have a diameter of only two centimeters. The width of the pipe determines the water-carrying capacity of the pipe. Therefore, the water is like the data, and the pipe width is like the bandwidth. Many networking experts say that they need to put in bigger pipes when they wish to add more information-carrying capacity.

Bandwidth is like the number of lanes on a highway.
A network of roads serves every city or town. Large highways with many traffic lanes are joined by smaller roads with fewer traffic lanes. These roads lead to even smaller, narrower roads, which eventually go to the driveways of homes and businesses. When very few automobiles use the highway system, each vehicle is able to move freely. When more traffic is added, each vehicle moves more slowly. This is especially true on roads with fewer lanes for the cars to occupy. Eventually, as even more traffic enters the highway system, even multi-lane highways become congested and slow. A data network is much like the highway system. The data packets are comparable to automobiles, and the bandwidth is comparable to the number of lanes on the highway. When a data network is viewed as a system of highways, it is easy to see how low bandwidth connections can cause traffic to become congested all over the network.

2.2.3 Measurement

In digital systems, the basic unit of bandwidth is bits per second (bps). Bandwidth is the measure of how much information, or bits, can flow from one place to another in a given amount of time, or seconds. Although bandwidth can be described in bits per second, usually some multiple of bits per second is used. In other words, network bandwidth is typically described as thousands of bits per second (kbps), millions of bits per second (Mbps), and billions of bits per second (Gbps) and trillions of bits per second (Tbps).

Although the terms bandwidth and speed are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same thing. One may say, for example, that a T3 connection at 45Mbps operates at a higher speed than a T1 connection at 1.544Mbps. However, if only a small amount of their data-carrying capacity is being used, each of these connection types will carry data at roughly the same speed. For example, a small amount of water will flow at the same rate through a small pipe as through a large pipe. Therefore, it is usually more accurate to say that a T3 connection has greater bandwidth than a T1 connection. This is because the T3 connection is able to carry more information in the same period of time, not because it has a higher speed.

2.2.4 Limitations

Bandwidth varies depending upon the type of media as well as the LAN and WAN technologies used. The physics of the media account for some of the difference. Signals travel through twisted-pair copper wire, coaxial cable, optical fiber, and air. The physical differences in the ways signals travel result in fundamental limitations on the information-carrying capacity of a given medium. However, the actual bandwidth of a network is determined by a combination of the physical media and the technologies chosen for signaling and detecting network signals.

For example, current understanding of the physics of unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) copper cable puts the theoretical bandwidth limit at over one gigabit per second (Gbps). However, in actual practice, the bandwidth is determined by the use of 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, or 1000BASE-TX Ethernet. In other words, the actual bandwidth is determined by the signaling methods, network interface cards (NICs), and other items of network equipment that are chosen. Therefore, the bandwidth is not determined solely by the limitations of the medium.

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