what computer network to use and what computer networking devices | download free pdf
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2. Topic Introduction
Open the Computer Network Fundamentals presentation and display on projector
screen: https://sway.com/H1ifD5KUZdLWkhFz. Navigate through the SWAY.
What is Networking?
A computer network is a set of two or more computers connected to each other. Once joined
together these computers can share files together and also share devices like printers which are on
the same network.
The network is connected with wires, either physical wires or wireless links, so the various separate
devices (known as nodes) can "talk" to one another and swap data. Nodes refer to desktop
computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, smart TVs and Gaming Consoles.
Nodes could mean desktop
computers, laptops, tablets
or mobile phones.
The network is probably one of the best inventions in the history of the computer because you
would not be sitting here now using Internet Explorer or Google Chrome (the world wide web –
www) to view this tutorial without networking technologies. Yes, the internet is also a large network.
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The internet is a large
How do Networks help us?
technology helps us every day as we work and play
People can communicate with others all over the world at a very low cost
using e-mail, chat, telephone, video telephone, video conferencing and SMS
(Short Message Service and is also commonly referred to as a "text message")
Video Conferencing has aided in more efficient and economic global
In a network, resources such as printers, scanners, fax machines and modems
can be shared among the users.
Networking a printer allows everyone in the same classroom or office print to
the same machine.
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Application programmes (known as Apps) and software are generally stored
on the central computer server and are accessible to any workstation
connected to this network.
Programmes such as Microsoft Office can be stored centrally on the server
and accessed by all workstations on the network.
Users on a network can access data stored on other computers and on the
internet. Known as Databases, these systems are used in companies to hold
information such as customer, product or employee information. Database
information can be stored in-house on a computer server or in the Cloud.
Cloud Services allow companies to store their data in large online servers
using the internet. This makes this data accessible anywhere once there is an
Watch embedded video: What is the cloud? (3:49m)
3. Practical Application of the Technology
What are the Fundamentals of Networking?
Networks are divided up into fundamental parts which include types, topologies, designs and
components. These parts will all have a bearing on which network type companies will choose as the
needs of each business is different.
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Network Types - LANs, MANs and WANs...
Not all computer networks are the same - some are small and some are very large
Watch embedded video: Types of Networks (7:55m)
The smallest form of network is PAN (personal area network). PAN is used for communication
among computer devices, including mobiles phones, laptops and gaming consoles in a limited
area - approximately the size of a room The reach of a PAN is generally only a few meters. This
network type is generally wireless. Bluetooth is an example of this type.
If you are using a computer in a school, you probably use a LAN (local area network). A LAN is
chosen as a network solution in a limited geographical area such as home, school, computer
laboratory or office building.
MANs (metropolitan area networks) cover a larger area than the LAN. As the name suggests,
MANs covers whole cities or large towns. Even some of the bigger universities opt for this
WANs (wide area networks) consists of several LANs connected together over the internet.
WANs covers the largest geographical area of all networks. The internet is an example of a WAN
that covers the entire world. (Woodford, 2016)
LAN Network Topology
For LAN networks to perform without experiencing problems, they must be organised into strict
patterns which has become known as “Network Topology”. You can connect nodes, cables and
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Star Patterns - Each node has a dedicated
set of wires connecting it to a central
network hub. Since all traffic passes through
the switch (formally known as a hub), the
switch becomes a central point for isolating
network problems and gathering network
statistics. Many home and office networks
use the star topology. A failure in any star
patterned LAN will only take down one
computer's network access and not the
entire LAN. (If the hub fails, however, the
entire network also fails.)
Ring Patterns - All messages/data packets
travel through a ring in the same direction
(either "clockwise" or "counter clockwise")
from one network device to the next and
features a closed loop. A failure in any cable
or device breaks the loop and can take
down the entire network. Ring patterns can
be found in some office or on school
Bus Patterns - Each node attaches directly to a common single cable. The backbone functions as a
shared communication medium that devices
attach or tap into with an interface
connector. A device wanting to
communicate with another device on the
network sends a broadcast message onto
the wire that all other devices see, but only
the intended recipient actually accepts and
processes the message. Bus patterns work
best with a limited number of nodes. If
more than a few dozen computers are
added to a network bus, performance
problems may result. In addition, if the
backbone cable fails, the entire network effectively goes down.
Watch embedded video: Network Topology (10:35m)
Mesh is where all the network nodes are individually connected to most of the
other nodes. There is not a concept of a central switch, hub or computer
which acts as a central point of communication to pass on the messages.
Installation and configuration can be difficult and expensive in this
pattern however it is robust and provides security and privacy. P a g e 12
Hybrid refers to integrating two or more different
topologies. This combination of topologies is done
according to the requirements of the company. 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. Star-
Ring and Star-Bus networks are most common examples
of hybrid network. While this topology has positives such
as reliability and effectiveness, it is costly and complex in
design and infrastructure. (Network Topologies, 2016)
Considerations when choosing a topology...
1. Cost: A linear bus network is the cheapest option to install.
2. Cable type: The most common cable in schools is unshielded twisted pair, which is most often
used with star topologies.
3. Length of cable needed: The linear bus network uses shorter lengths of cable.
4. Future growth: With a star topology, expanding a network is easily done by adding another
Sometimes called “Network Architecture”, Network Design focuses on the configuration and
functionality of the network. There are two main designs:
Peer to Peer (P2P)
Watch embedded video: Client Server and Peer-to-Peer Networking (2:46m)
In a Client/Server Design, one computer or dedicated storage device acts as a central storage unit
for the network.
A server is a computer (node) that is a central
storage unit for the network. This can be a
computer or a dedicated server like the one in our
image. Example are for files, emails, print and web
A client is a node that requests some service from a
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In this Network Design, one node acts as a server that provides the services, and the other nodes
(clients) request services from the server. Generally, a server is a powerful device with good
processing power and storage capacity.
Peer to Peer (P2P)
In a Peer to Peer Design, all nodes (peers) have
equal capabilities to use the resources available on
the network. There is no central server. This
network is a good choice for needs of small
businesses where the users are situated in the
same area and the business does not think it will
So which is more efficient?
Review the advantages and disadvantages of both: (Understanding the differences between
client/server and peer-to-peer networks, 2016)
Components of a Computer Network
Every device on the network has network interface of some kind.
Referred to as a NIC (network interface card), it is generally integrated
into a computer's motherboard. It can also come as a separate card.
This component takes data packets/ information from the computer
and sends it out onto the network cable, or into the air in the case of a
Hubs / Switches P a g e 14
When you connect multiple workstations on a network, they plug into a
central device known as a "Hub". The hub has the job of moving the
network signal from one cable to another. Lately, "Switches" have
replaced the hubs because they are able to keep up with which
computer is on which switch port (connection). A switch does not
transmit all information to all other computers on the switch, just to the
destination computer. Switching technology helps to reduce congestion
on a network and should be used for networks of 10 or more
In addition to using switches, network technicians use "routers" to connect one local area network
(LAN) to another, many times across and across long geographic areas using commercial data
A router has a lot more capabilities than hubs/ switches, as they can analyse the data being sent
over a network and send it to another network or over a different network. In home networks,
routers are commonly used to share an Internet connection between multiple computers.
In this example of a home network, a wireless router is being used to share out internet access to all
wi-fi enabled devices in the home. Additionally, by plugging in the hub/switch to the router, internet
access is also being shared to the two desktop computers wired into this network.
In order to make any network work or connect together, cabling
(sometimes referred to as media) of some kind is required. Ethernet
cabling is extremely common and has several types. The higher the cable
rating i.e. Cat5, Cat6, Cat7, the higher the bandwidth (speedier the
connection) the cable can support.
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Recently there has been a growth in the use of
fibre optic cabling, which is more expensive.
Wireless has become popular in homes due to
the ease and low expense of setting up a
network. The media for a wireless network is
the air, through which the wireless NICs
transmit radio signals that carry information.
Software is required so all of the components function together. Network protocols define a
language of instructions for communication between the network nodes. It is essential that a
networked computer have one or more protocol drivers. Usually, for two computers to connect on a
network, they must use the same protocols. Network protocols like HTTP and TCP/IP offer a basis on
which much of the Internet stands.
Watch embedded video: What is TCP/IP? (6:10m)
Principles of Network security
With network security in place, your home or business network is protected against security threats
which spread over the Internet (network).
The most common include: (Sanchez, 2010)
Viruses: A small piece of software that can spread from one infected computer to another. The virus
could corrupt, steal, or delete data on your computer.
Trojan horses: Users can infect their computers with Trojan horse software by downloading an
application they thought was legitimate but was in fact malicious. Once inside your computer, a
Trojan horse can do anything from record your passwords to hijacking in-built video camera to
watch and record your every move.
Worms: They can copy themselves from one computer to another, without your interaction. They
can replicate in great volume and with great speed. For example, a worm can send copies of itself to
every contact in your email account. P a g e 16
Spam: This is unwanted messages appearing into your email inbox. Spam, or electronic junk mail, is
a nuisance as it can clutter your mailbox as well as potentially take up space on your mail server.
Phishing: Pronounced "Fishing"- these threats are fraudulent attempts by cybercriminals to obtain
private information. For example, you could receive a very legitimate looking email from your bank
trying to lure you into giving your personal information.
Watch embedded video: Computer Security Tutorial (9:24m)
Simple ways to protect your Network
Install all updates
The first step is to make sure that all of your devices have the latest operating system, web browsers
and security software. This includes mobile devices that access your wi-fi network. This is the best
defence against viruses, phishing and other online threats.
Protect your router
Change the name and password of your router. When creating a new password, make sure it is long
and strong, using a mix of numbers, letters and symbols.
Plug and scan
USBs and other external drive devices can be infected by viruses. Use your security software to scan
Protect banking information
If banking or shopping online, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses
with “https://” or “shttp://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your
information. “Http://” is not secure.
Back it up
Protect your valuable work, music, photographs and other digital information by making an
electronic copy and storing it safely. (Hayward, 2016)
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4. Student Engagement with Topic
Interactive Networking Tutorial – complete a ten-minute course online
Follow this link to open the tutorial (10:00m):
Hang the skeleton – play an interactive game to test your understanding of Networking
Follow this link to open the game (5:00m):
Multiple Choice Questions – What do you remember? P a g e 18
Follow this link to open the Quiz (5:00m):
Advice for Teachers
The quiz has been embedded in the SWAY presentation so you can complete it as an in-class
Alternatively, the same quiz has been created in Kahoot, a free game-based learning platform that
makes it fun to learn.
Test the student’s knowledge of
IT with this fun, interactive quiz.
Students: They require a pc,
laptop or smart phone with
internet connection. They
answer the questions with their
Teachers: You will need to launch
this quiz using a laptop or PC
connected to a projector, as
students will need to see the
questions. Copy the link below
into an internet browser:
Create a Kahoot account in order to play the quiz.
Once logged in, press ‘Play’ and then ‘Start Now’. Select the ‘Classic’ player option on the left.
Now ask the students to go to kahoot.it and enter the Game PIN at the top of the screen.
Once they have done this, they can enter the quiz. It is against the clock so the fastest correct
answer gets the most points
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5. Industry Exposure
Prepare for a career in Networking – Things you can do straight away
Be a good communicator
Take part in group projects at school. While networking has been
perceived as being a loner's job, the opposite is actually the case If you
work for a company, you will be part of a development team and be
expected to communicate and work well with others. Simple practices
such as reading text out loud, publishing an article on the web or facing
critiques can help you prepare for working in a team environment.
Approach problems logically
Compare networking to putting a jigsaw together: you need to work out
how to connect one piece of your programme to another, and it is not
always easy. Break it down and make it simpler. Learn to draw out your topology
into flowcharts. Simple things like making jigsaws and playing sudoku will also
Be patient and set realistic goals
If you are looking to eventually have a networking job full-time, lots of
patience is a must because you are expected to spend a great deal of time
working with anomalies and trying to solve system errors. Learn to tackle
problems in small pieces rather than entire chunks. Set achievable and
realistic goals for yourself
Learn how a computer works
It will help in the future, if you have a solid understanding of the
workings of a computer. Knowledge of operating systems, network
technologies and software can also help There are lots of excellent free
video tutorials and presentations available online to help.
Watch embedded video: Inside your computer (4:12m)
Learn how to create small networks online
The internet is full of free resources and videos demonstrating how to create small Networks. Also,
see our 'Follow on Resource Pack' for help. P a g e 20
Delve in and see if you like it
I want to be a Network Technician
Sometimes called "Tech Support", the technician generally services, troubleshoots and fix problems
on the network. It will be helpful to know about the different operating systems such as Microsoft,
Novell and Unix. Investigate courses which include qualifications in Microsoft Technology Associate
(MTA), Cisco Career Certifications and CompTIA.
I want to be a Network Administrator
If you want to get into the admin side of networking, you should find out more about creating
network user accounts and managing resources on computers in the network. Experience in
correcting problems on the network involving nodes and peripherals will help.
I want to be a Network Engineer
To work in this area, you will have to perform tasks such as installing and configuring network
hardware and software, troubleshooting operations to ensure continuous network availability and
providing technical support and assistance.
I want to be a Network Analyst
A network analyst assesses the success of the current network solution always looking for
improvements. Their role is to research and coordinate system enhancements (updating software
and hardware). They also produce network policies and procedures.
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What do the experts say…?
Watch embedded video: Careers in IT Networking (2:46m)
6. Course Conclusion
Thank you for completing the Computer Network Fundamentals Taster Course and being part of the
All students who participate in the GYIT programme will also receive a Follow on Resource Pack.
This will comprise a comprehensive list of free and open source websites and tutorials so students
can continue on their programming journey.
For further information on the GYIT programme, please visit our website: Click here
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Hayward, D. (2016, April 17). How to secure your home network from hackers. Retrieved from
Trusted Reviews: http://www.trustedreviews.com/how-tos/how-to-secure-your-home-
Network Topologies. (2016, November 15). Retrieved from Edraw Visualiszation Solutions:
Sanchez, M. (2010, December 9). The 10 most common security threats explained. Retrieved from
Understanding the differences between client/server and peer-to-peer networks. (2016, November
15). Retrieved from IT-ASEAN: http://it-asean.blogspot.ie/2014/10/understanding-
Woodford, C. (2016, March 18). Computer Networks. Retrieved from Explain that stuff: