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Network A system of interconnected computers and computerized peripherals such as printers is called computer network. This interconnection among computers facilitates information sharing among them. Computers may connect to each other by either wired or wireless media. A computer network consists of a collection of computers, printers and other equipment that is connected together so that they can communicate with each other.  

Network application
A Network application is any application running on one host and provides a communication to another application running on a different host, the application may use an existing application layer protocols such as: HTTP(e.g. the Browser and web server), SMTP(e.g. the email-client). And may be the application does not use any existing protocols and depends on the socket programming to communicate to another application. So the web application is a type of the network applications. 
There are lots of advantages from build up a network, but the th…


A system of interconnected computers and computerized peripherals such as printers is called computer network. This interconnection among computers facilitates information sharing among them. Computers may connect to each other by either wired or wireless media. A computer network consists of a collection of computers, printers and other equipment that is connected together so that they can communicate with each other.  

networkA Network application is any application running on one host and provides a communication to another application running on a different host, the application may use an existing application layer protocols such as: HTTP(e.g. the Browser and web server), SMTP(e.g. the email-client). And may be the application does not use any existing protocols and depends on the socket programming to communicate to another application. So the web application is a type of the network applications. 

There are lots of advantages from build up a network, but the three big facts are-  
File Sharing  From sharing files you can view, modify, and copy files stored on a different computer on the network just as easily as if they were stored on your computer.  Resource Sharing  Resources such as printers, fax machines, Storage Devices (HDD, FDD and CD Drives), Webcam, Scanners, Modem and many more devices can be shared. Program Sharing  Just as you can share files on a network, you can often also share program on a network. For example, if you have the right type of software license, you can have a shared copy of Microsoft Office, or some other program, and keep it on the network server, from where it is also run. 

Network Architecture
Network Architecture is the complete framework of an organization's computer network. The diagram of the network architecture provides a full picture of the established network with detailed view of all the resources accessible. It includes hardware components used for communication, cabling and device types, network layout and topologies, physical and wireless connections, implemented areas and future plans. In addition, the software rules and protocols also constitute to the network architecture. This architecture is always designed by a network manager/administrator with coordination of network engineers and other design engineers. Network Architecture provides the detail overview of a network. It is used to classify all the network layers step-by-step in logical form by describing each step in detail. It is also based on the complete working definitions of the protocols. The architecture is emphasized in a distributed computing environment and its complexity cannot be understood without a framework. Therefore there is a need to develop applications or methods to layout an overview of a network. There are two main network types you need to know about: peer-to-peer and Client/server.

Peer-to-peer networks are appropriate only for very small businesses or for home use. A peer-to-peer network can support about ten clients (workstations) before it begins to suffer from some serious performance and management problems. Usually, peer-to-peer networks are composed of a collection of clients that run either Windows NT Workstation or Windows 98. Windows 3.11, Windows 95, and Windows 2000 Professional also support peer-to-peer networking. The concept behind peer-to-peer networking is to share files and printers as inexpensively as possible; therefore, there’s no main server on the network. Instead, each client functions both as a client and as a server simultaneously. Since users are allowed to control access to the resources on their own computers, however, security becomes very risky in a peer-to-peer environment. There’s no central security or any way to control who shares what. Users are free to create any network share points on their computers. The only security on a peer-to-peer network is at the share level. When users create network shares, they may implement no security, which means that anyone can have full access to the share, or they may assign a password to the share. Depending on which networking platform you use, a user may be able to assign one password to a share for read-only access and another password for full control over the share. 

There are an almost infinite variety of client/server networks, but all of them have a couple of things in common. For one thing, all have centralized security databases that control access to shared resources on servers. In the world of Windows, the server usually runs Net-Ware, Windows NT, or one of the Windows 2000 Server products. The server contains a list of usernames and passwords. Users can’t log on to the network unless they supply valid usernames and passwords to the server. Once logged on, users may access only those resources that the network administrator allows them to access. Thus, client/server networks possess much more security than do peer-to-peer networks. Client/server networks also tend to be much more stable. In a peer-to-peer network, certain shared resources reside on each user’s machine. 

There are several different types of computer networks. Computer networks can be characterized by their size as well as their purpose. 

The size of a network can be expressed by the geographic area they occupy and the number of computers that are part of the network. Networks can cover anything from a handful of devices within a single room to millions of devices spread across the entire globe. Some of the different networks based on size are: 

  • Personal area network, or PAN 
  • Local area network, or LAN 
  • Metropolitan area network, or MAN 
  • Wide area network, or WAN 

PANA personal area network, or PAN, is a computer network organized around an individual person within a single building. This could be inside a small office or residence. A typical PAN would include one or more computers, telephones, peripheral devices, video game consoles and other personal entertainment devices. 

If multiple individuals use the same network within a residence, the network is sometimes referred to as a home area network, or HAN. In a very typical setup, a residence will have a single wired Internet connection connected to a modem. This modem then provides both wired and wireless connections for multiple devices. The network is typically managed from a single computer but can be accessed from any device. This type of network provides great flexibility. For example, it allows you to: 

  • Send a document to the printer in the office upstairs while you are sitting on the couch with your laptop. 
  • Upload the photo from your cell phone to your desktop computer. 
  • Watch movies from an online streaming service to your TV. 

A local area network, or LAN, consists of a computer network at a single site, typically an individual office building. A LAN is very useful for sharing resources, such as data storage and printers. LANs can be built with relatively inexpensive hardware, such as hubs, network adapters and Ethernet cables. The smallest LAN may only use two computers, while larger LANs can accommodate thousands of computers. A LAN typically relies mostly on wired connections for increased speed and security, but wireless connections can also be part of a LAN. High speed and relatively low cost are the defining characteristics of LANs. LANs are typically used for single sites where people need to share resources among themselves but not with the rest of the outside world. Think of an office building where everybody should be able to access files on a central server or be able to print a document to one or more central printers. Those tasks should be easy for everybody working in the same office, but you would not want somebody just walking outside to be able to send a document to the printer from their cell phone! If a local area network, or LAN, is entirely wireless, it is referred to as a wireless local area network, or WLAN. 

A metropolitan area network, or MAN, consists of a computer network across an entire city, college campus or small region. A MAN is larger than a LAN, which is typically limited to a single building or site. Depending on the configuration, this type of network can cover an area from several miles to tens of miles. A MAN is often used to connect several LANs together to form a bigger network. When this type of network is specifically designed for a college campus, it is sometimes referred to as a campus area network, or CAN. 

Wide area networks (WANs) are used to connect LANs together. Typically, WANs are used when the LANs that must be connected are separated by a large distance. Computers connected to a wide-area network are often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites. The largest WAN in existence is the Internet. A WAN connects more than one LAN and is used for larger geographical areas. WANs are similar to a banking system, where hundreds of branches in different cities are connected with each other in order to share their official data. A WAN works in a similar fashion to a LAN, just on a larger scale. Typically, TCP/IP is the protocol used for a WAN in combination with devices such as routers, switches, firewalls and modems. 

There are a lot of different machines, devices, and media that make up our networks. 
  • Work Station 
  • Server 
  • Host 
  • Work Station: Workstations are often seriously powerful computers that run more than one central processing unit (CPU) and whose resources are available to other users on the network to access when needed. Don’t confuse workstations with client machines, which can be workstations but aren’t always. A client machine is any device on the network that can ask for access to resources from a workstationfor instance, a printer. 
  • Server: Servers are also powerful computers. They get their name because they truly are “at the service” of the network and run specialized software for the network’s maintenance and control known as the network operating system. 
Here's a list of common dedicated servers:
File server: Stores and dispenses files. 

Mail server: The network’s post office, which handles email functions. 

Print server: Manages all printers on the network. 

Web server: Manages web-based activities by running Hypertext Transfer Protocol  (HTTP) for storing web content and accessing web pages. 

Fax server: The “memo maker” that sends and receives paperless faxes over the   network. 

Application server: Manages network applications. 

Telephony server: Handles the call center and call routing and can be thought of as a sophisticated network answering machine. 
Remote-access server: Provides remote users with access to the network through modems, an IP connection, or wirelessly. 

Proxy server: Handles tasks in the place of other machines on the network. 

Host:  In Internet protocol specifications, the term "host" means any computer that has full two-way access to other computers on the Internet. A host has a specific "local or host number" that, together with the network number, forms its unique IP address. If you use Point-to-Point Protocol to get access to your access provider, you have a unique IP address for the duration of any connection you make to the Internet and your computer is a host for that period. In this context, a "host" is a node in a network. 

Computer network topology is the way various components of a network (like nodes, links, peripherals, etc.) are arranged. Network topologies define the layout, virtual shape or structure of network, not only physically but also logically. The way in which different systems and nodes are connected and communicate with each other is determined by topology of the network.  

Topology can be physical or logical. Physical Topology is the physical layout of nodes, workstations and cables in the network; while logical topology is the way information flows between different components.  

network topologies
a) Bus topology 
b) Star topology 
c) Ring topology 
d) Mesh topology 
e) Hybrid topology 

Bus topology
Bus Topology is the simplest of network topologies. In this type of topology, all the nodes (computers as well as servers) are connected to the single cable (called bus), by the help of interface connectors. This central cable is the backbone of the network and is known as Bus (thus the name). Every workstation communicates with the other device through this Bus. A signal from the source is broadcasted and it travels to all workstations connected to bus cable. Although the message is broadcasted but only the intended recipient, whose MAC address or IP address matches, accepts it. If the MAC /IP address of machine doesn’t match with the intended address, machine discards the signal.  

A terminator is added at ends of the central cable, to prevent bouncing of signals. A barrel connector can be used to extend it. Below I have given a basic diagram of a bus topology and then have discussed advantages and disadvantages of Bus Network Topology. 
Ethernet bus topologies are relatively easy to install and don't require much cabling compared to the alternatives. 10Base-2 ("ThinNet") and 10Base-5 ("ThickNet") both were popular Ethernet cabling options many years ago for bus topologies. However, bus networks work best with a limited number of devices If more than a few dozen computers are added to a network bus, performance problems will likely result. In addition, if the backbone cable fails, the entire network effectively becomes unusable. 

1)  It is easy to set-up and extend bus network. 
2)  Cable length required for this topology is the least compared to other networks. 
3)  Bus topology costs very less. 
4) Linear Bus network is mostly used in small networks. Good for LAN. 

1)  There is a limit on central cable length and number of nodes that can be connected. 
2)  Dependency on central cable in this topology has its disadvantages. If the main    encounters  some problem, whole network breaks down.  
3)  Proper termination is required to dump signals. Use of terminators is must. 
4)  It is difficult to detect and troubleshoot fault at individual station. 
5)  Maintenance costs can get higher with time. 
6) Efficiency of Bus network reduces, as the number of devices connected to it increases. 
7)  It is not suitable for networks with heavy traffic.  
8)  Security is very low because all the computers receive the sent signal from the source. 

star topology
In Star topology, all the components of network are connected to the central device called “hub” which may be a hub, a router or a switch. Unlike Bus topology (discussed earlier), where nodes were connected to central cable, here all the workstations are connected to central device with a point-to-point connection. So it can be said that every computer is indirectly connected to every other node by the help of “hub”. All the data on the star topology passes through the central device before reaching the intended destination. Hub acts as a junction to connect different nodes present in Star Network, and at the same time it manages and controls whole of the network. Depending on which central device is used, “hub” can act as repeater or signal booster. Central device can also communicate with other hubs of different network. Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Ethernet cable is used to connect workstations to central node. 

1) As compared to Bus topology it gives far much better performance, signals don’t necessarily get transmitted to all the workstations. A sent signal reaches the intended destination after passing through no more than 3-4 devices and 2-3 links. Performance of the network is dependent on the capacity of central hub. 
2) Easy to connect new nodes or devices. In star topology new nodes can be added easily without affecting rest of the network. Similarly components can also be removed easily. 
3) Centralized management. It helps in monitoring the network. Failure of one node or link doesn’t affect the rest of network. At the same time it’s easy to detect the failure and troubleshoot it. 

1)  Too much dependency on central device has its own drawbacks. If it fails whole network goes down. 
2)  The use of hub, a router or a switch as central device increases the overall cost of the network. 
3)  Performance and as well number of nodes which can be added in such topology is depended on capacity of central device. 

In Ring Topology, all the nodes are connected to each-other in such a way that they make a closed loop. Each workstation is connected to two other components on either side, and it communicates with these two adjacent neighbors. Data travels around the network, in one direction. Sending and receiving of data takes place by the help of TOKEN

Token Passing
Token contains a piece of information which along with data is sent by the source computer. This token then passes to next node, which checks if the signal is intended to it. If yes, it receives it and passes the empty to into the network, otherwise passes token along with the data to next node. This process continues until the signal reaches its intended destination. The nodes with token are the ones only allowed to send data. Other nodes have to wait for an empty token to reach them. This network is usually found in offices, schools and small buildings. 

1) This type of network topology is very organized. Each node gets to send the data when it receives an   empty token. This helps to reduces chances of collision. Also in ring topology all the traffic flows in only one direction at very high speed. 
2)  Even when the load on the network increases, its performance is better than that of Bus topology. 
3)  There is no need for network server to control the connectivity between workstations. 
4) Additional components do not affect the performance of network. 
5)   Each computer has equal access to resources. 

1) Each packet of data must pass through all the computers between source and   destination. This makes it slower than Star topology. 
2)  If one workstation or port goes down, the entire network gets affected. 
3) Network is highly dependent on the wire which connects different components.  
4) MAU’s and network cards are expensive as compared to Ethernet cards and hubs.  

Mesh topologyIn a mesh network topology, each of the network node, computer and other devices, are interconnected with one another. Every node not only sends its own signals but also relays data from other nodes. In fact a true mesh topology is the one where every node is connected to every other node in the network. This type of topology is very expensive as there are many redundant connections, thus it is not mostly used in computer networks.  

It is commonly used in wireless networks. Types of Mesh Network topologies:- 

In this, like a true mesh, each component is connected to every other component. Even after considering the redundancy factor and cost of this network, its main advantage is that the network traffic can be redirected to other nodes if one of the nodes goes down. Full mesh topology is used only for backbone networks. 

This is far more practical as compared to full mesh topology. Here, some of the systems are connected in similar fashion as in mesh topology while rests of the systems are only connected to 1 or 2 devices. It can be said that in partial mesh, the workstations are ‘indirectly’ connected to other devices. This one is less costly and also reduces redundancy. 

1) Data can be transmitted from different devices simultaneously. This topology can withstand high traffic. 
2) Even if one of the components fails there is always an alternative present. So data transfer doesn’t get affected. 
3) Expansion and modification in topology can be done without disrupting other nodes. 

1) there are high chances of redundancy in many of the network connections. 
2) Overall cost of this network is way too high as compared to other network topologies. 
3) Set-up and maintenance of this topology is very difficult. Even administration of the network is tough. 

Tree Topology
Tree Topology integrates the characteristics of Star and Bus Topology. Earlier we saw how in Physical Star network Topology, computers (nodes) are connected by each other through central hub. And we also saw in Bus Topology, work station devices are connected by the common cable called Bus. After understanding these two network configurations, we can understand tree topology better. In Tree Topology, the number of Star networks are connected using Bus. This main cable seems like a main stem of a tree, and other star networks as the branches. It is also called Expanded Star Topology. Ethernet protocol is commonly used in this type of topology. The diagram below will make it clear. 

1. It is an extension of Star and bus Topologies, so in networks where these topologies can't be implemented individually for reasons related to scalability, tree topology is the best alternative. 
2. Expansion of Network is possible and easy. 
3. Here, we divide the whole network into segments (star networks), which can be easily managed and maintained.  
4. Error detection and correction is easy. 
5. Each segment is provided with dedicated point-to-point wiring to the central hub. 
6. If one segment is damaged, other segments are not affected. 

1. Because of its basic structure, tree topology, relies heavily on the main bus cable, if it breaks whole network is crippled. 
2. As more and more nodes and segments are added, the maintenance becomes difficult. 
3. Scalability of the network depends on the type of cable used. 

Hybrid, as the name suggests, is mixture of two different things. Similarly in this type of topology we integrate two or more different topologies to form a resultant topology which has good points (as well as weaknesses) of all the constituent basic topologies rather than having characteristics of one specific topology. This combination of topologies is done according to the requirements of the organization. For example, if there exists a ring topology in one office department while a bus topology in another department, connecting these two will result in Hybrid topology. Remember connecting two similar topologies cannot be termed as Hybrid topology. Star-Ring and Star-Bus networks are most common examples of hybrid network. Let's see the benefits and drawbacks of this networking architecture. 

1) Reliable: Unlike other networks, fault detection and troubleshooting is easy in this type of topology. The part in which fault is detected can be isolated from the rest of network and required corrective measures can be taken, WITHOUT affecting the functioning of rest of the network.  

2) Scalable: It’s easy to increase the size of network by adding new components, without disturbing existing architecture.  

3) Flexible: Hybrid Network can be designed according to the requirements of the organization and by optimizing the available resources. Special care can be given to nodes where traffic is high as well as where chances of fault are high.  

4) Effective: Hybrid topology is the combination of two or more topologies, so we can design it in such a way that strengths of constituent topologies are maximized while there weaknesses are neutralized. For example we saw Ring Topology has good data reliability (achieved by use of tokens) and Star topology has high tolerance capability (as each node is not directly connected to other but through central device), so these two can be used effectively in hybrid star-ring topology.  

1)  Complexity of Design: One of the biggest drawback of hybrid topology is its design. It’s not easy to design this type of architecture and it’s a tough job for designers. Configuration and installation process needs to be very efficient. 

2) Costly Hub: The hubs used to connect two distinct networks, are very expensive. These hubs are different from usual hubs as they need to be intelligent enough to work with different architectures and should be function even if a part of network is down. 

3) Costly Infrastructure: As hybrid architectures are usually larger in scale, they require a lot of cables, cooling systems, sophisticate network devices, etc. 

A network protocol defines rules and conventions for communication between network devices. Protocols for computer networking all generally use packet switching techniques to send and receive messages in the form of packets. Network protocols include mechanisms for devices to identify and make connections with each other, as well as formatting rules that specify how data is packaged into messages sent and received. Some protocols also support message acknowledgement and data compression designed for reliable and/or high performance network communication. Hundreds of different computer network protocols have been developed each designed for specific purposes and environments. 

The most common network protocols are: 

i. Ethernet 

ii. Local Talk 

iii. Token Ring 

iv. FDDI v. ATM 

The Ethernet protocol is by far the most widely used one. Ethernet uses an access method called CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection). This is a system where each computer listens to the cable before sending anything through the network. If the network is clear, the computer will transmit. If some other nodes have already transmitted on the cable, the computer will wait and try again when the line is clear. Sometimes, two computers attempt to transmit at the same instant. A collision occurs when this happens. Each computer then backs off and waits a random amount of time before attempting to retransmit. With this access method, it is normal to have collisions. However, the delay caused by collisions and re-transmitting is very small and does not normally effect the speed of transmission on the network. The Ethernet protocol allows for linear bus, star, or tree topologies. Data can be transmitted over wireless access points, twisted pair, coaxial, or fiber optic cable at a speed of 10 Mbps up to 1000 Mbps. 

To allow for an increased speed of transmission, the Ethernet protocol has developed a new standard that supports 100 Mbps. This is commonly called Fast Ethernet. Fast Ethernet requires the application of different, more expensive network concentrators/hubs and network interface cards. In addition, category 5 twisted pair or fiber optic cable is necessary. Fast Ethernet is becoming common in schools that have been recently wired. 

Local Talk is a network protocol that was developed by Apple Computer, Inc. for Macintosh computers. The method used by Local Talk is called CSMA/CA (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance). It is similar to CSMA/CD except that a computer signals its intent to transmit before it actually does so. Local Talk adapters and special twisted pair cable can be used to connect a series of computers through the serial port. The Macintosh operating system allows the establishment of a peer-to-peer network without the need for additional software. With the addition of the server version of Apple-share software, a client/server network can be established. The Local Talk protocol allows for linear bus, star, or tree topologies using twisted pair cable. A primary disadvantage of Local Talk is low speed. Its speed of transmission is only 230 Kbps

The Token Ring protocol was developed by IBM in the mid-1980s. The access method used involves token passing. In Token Ring, the computers are connected so that the signal travels around the network from one computer to another in a logical ring. A single electronic token moves around the ring from one computer to the next. If a computer does not have information to transmit, it simply passes the token on to the next workstation. If a computer wishes to transmit and receives an empty token, it attaches data to the token. The token then proceeds around the ring until it comes to the computer for which the data is meant. At this point, the data is captured by the receiving computer. The Token Ring protocol requires a star-wired ring using twisted pair or fiber optic cable. It can operate at transmission speeds of 4 Mbps or 16 Mbps. Due to the increasing popularity of Ethernet, the use of Token Ring in school environments has decreased. 

Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) is a network protocol that is used primarily to interconnect two or more local area networks, often over large distances. The access method used by FDDI involves token passing. FDDI uses a dual ring physical topology. Transmission normally occurs on one of the rings; however, if a break occurs, the system keeps information moving by automatically using portions of the second ring to create a new complete ring. A major advantage of FDDI is high speed. It operates over fiber optic cable at 100 Mbps. 

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) is a network protocol that transmits data at a speed of 155 Mbps and higher. ATM works by transmitting all data in small packets of a fixed size; whereas, other protocols transfer variable length packets. ATM supports a variety of media such as video, CD-quality audio, and imaging. ATM employs a star topology, which can work with fiber optic as well as twisted pair cable. ATM is most often used to interconnect two or more local area networks. It is also frequently used by Internet Service Providers to utilize high-speed access to the Internet for their clients. As ATM technology becomes more cost-effective, it will provide another solution for constructing faster local area networks. 

The latest development in the Ethernet standard is a protocol that has a transmission speed of 1 gbps. Gigabit Ethernet is primarily used for backbones on a network at this time. In the future, it will probably also be used for workstation and server connections. It can be used with both fiber optic cabling and copper. The 1000BaseTX, the copper cable used for Gigabit Ethernet, became the formal standard in 1999. 

Twisted Pair, Coaxial, Fiber
10 Mbps
Linear Bus, Star, Tree
Fast Ethernet
Twisted Pair, Fiber
100 Mbps
Local Talk
Twisted Pair
23 Mbps
Linear Bus or Star
Token Ring
Twisted Pair
4 Mbps - 16 Mbps
Star-Wired Ring
100 Mbps
Dual ring
Twisted Pair, Fiber
155-2488 Mbps
Linear Bus, Star, Tree

B. Client Server 
C. Peer to Peer 
D. Mesh 

A. Bus 
B. Star 
C. Ring 
D. Mesh 
A. Bus 
B. Ring 
C. Star 
D. Mesh 
A. The ring is broken, so no devices can communicate. 
B. Only that workstation loses its ability to communicate. 
C. That workstation and the device it’s connected to lose communication with the rest of the network. D. No devices can communicate because there are now two unterminated network segments 
A. Where to place the server 
B. Whose computer is least busy and can act as the serve 
C. The security associated with such a network 
D. Having enough peers to support creating such a network 
A. Ten buildings interconnected by Ethernet connections over fiber-optic cabling 
B. Ten routers interconnected by frame relay circuits 
C. Two routers interconnected with a T1 circuit 
D. A computer connected to another computer so they can share resources 


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