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Introduction to Computer Networks
1.1 Data Communication:When we communicate, we are sharing information. This sharing can
be local or remote. Between individuals, local communication usually occurs face to face, while
remote communication takes place over distance.
A data communications system has five components.
1. Message. The message is the information (data) to be communicated. Popular forms of
information include text, numbers, pictures, audio, and video.
2. Sender. The sender is the device that sends the data message. It can be a computer,
workstation, telephone handset, video camera, and so on.
3. Receiver. The receiver is the device that receives the message. It can be a computer,
workstation, telephone handset, television, and so on.
4. Transmission medium. The transmission medium is the physical path by which a message
travels from sender to receiver. Some examples of transmission media include twisted-pair wire,
coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable, and radio waves
5. Protocol. A protocol is a set of rules that govern data communications. It represents an
agreement between the communicating devices. Without a protocol, two devices may be
connected but not communicating, just as a person speaking French cannot be understood by a
person who speaks only Japanese.
1.1.2 Data Representation:
Information today comes in different forms such as text, numbers, images, audio, and video.
In data communications, text is represented as a bit pattern, a sequence of bits (Os or Is).
Different sets of bit patterns have been designed to represent text symbols. Each set is called a
code, and the process of representing symbols is called coding. Today, the prevalent coding
system is called Unicode, which uses 32 bits to represent a symbol or character used in any
language in the world. The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII),
developed some decades ago in the United States, now constitutes the first 127 characters in
Unicode and is also referred to as Basic Latin.
Numbers are also represented by bit patterns. However, a code such as ASCII is not used
to represent numbers; the number is directly converted to a binary number to simplify
mathematical operations. Appendix B discusses several different numbering systems.
Images are also represented by bit patterns. In its simplest form, an image is composed of
a matrix of pixels (picture elements), where each pixel is a small dot. The size of the pixel
depends on the resolution. For example, an image can be divided into 1000 pixels or 10,000
pixels. In the second case, there is a better representation of the image (better resolution), but
more memory is needed to store the image. After an image is divided into pixels, each pixel is
assigned a bit pattern. The size and the value of the pattern depend on the image. For an image
made of only blackand- white dots (e.g., a chessboard), a I-bit pattern is enough to represent a
pixel. If an image is not made of pure white and pure black pixels, you can increase the size of
the bit pattern to include gray scale. For example, to show four levels of gray scale, you can use
2-bit patterns. A black pixel can be represented by 00, a dark gray pixel by 01, a light gray pixel
by 10, and a white pixel by 11. There are several methods to represent color images. One method
is called RGB, so called because each color is made of a combination of three primary colors:
red, green, and blue. The intensity of each color is measured, and a bit pattern is assigned to it.
Another method is called YCM, in which a color is made of a combination of three other primary
colors: yellow, cyan, and magenta.
Audio refers to the recording or broadcasting of sound or music. Audio is by nature
different from text, numbers, or images. It is continuous, not discrete. Even when we use a
microphone to change voice or music to an electric signal, we create a continuous signal. In
Chapters 4 and 5, we learn how to change sound or music to a digital or an analog signal.
Video refers to the recording or broadcasting of a picture or movie. Video can either be
produced as a continuous entity (e.g., by a TV camera), or it can be a combination of images,
each a discrete entity, arranged to convey the idea of motion. Again we can change video to a
digital or an analog signal.
1.1.3 Data Flow
Communication between two devices can be simplex, half-duplex, or full-duplex as shown in
In simplex mode, the communication is unidirectional, as on a one-way street. Only one
of the two devices on a link can transmit; the other can only receive (see Figure a). Keyboards
and traditional monitors are examples of simplex devices. The keyboard can only introduce
input; the monitor can only accept output. The simplex mode can use the entire capacity of the
channel to send data in one direction.
In half-duplex mode, each station can both transmit and receive, but not at the same time.
When one device is sending, the other can only receive, and vice versa The half-duplex mode is
like a one-lane road with traffic allowed in both directions.
When cars are traveling in one direction, cars going the other way must wait. In a half-duplex
transmission, the entire capacity of a channel is taken over by whichever of the two devices is
transmitting at the time. Walkie-talkies and CB (citizens band) radios are both half-duplex
The half-duplex mode is used in cases where there is no need for communication in both
directions at the same time; the entire capacity of the channel can be utilized for each direction.
In full-duplex both stations can transmit and receive simultaneously (see Figure c). The
full-duplex mode is like a tWD-way street with traffic flowing in both directions at the same
time. In full-duplex mode, sinals going in one direction share the capacity of the link: with
signals going in the other dincon. This sharing can occur in two ways: Either the link must
contain two physically separate t:nmsmissiIDn paths, one for sending and the other for receiving;
or the capacity of the ch:arillilel is divided between signals traveling in both directions. One
common example of full-duplex communication is the telephone network. When two people are
communicating by a telephone line, both can talk and listen at the same time. The full-duplex
mode is used when communication in both directions is required all the time. The capacity of the
channel, however, must be divided between the two directions.
A network is a set of devices (often referred to as nodes) connected by communication links. A
node can be a computer, printer, or any other device capable of sending and/or receiving data
generated by other nodes on the network.
1.2.1 Distributed Processing
Most networks use distributed processing, in which a task is divided among multiple computers.
Instead of one single large machine being responsible for all aspects of a process, separate
computers (usually a personal computer or workstation) handle a subset.
1.2.2 Network Criteria
A network must be able to meet a certain number of criteria. The most important of these are
performance, reliability, and security.
Performance can be measured in many ways, including transit time and response
time.Transit time is the amount of time required for a message to travel from one device to
another. Response time is the elapsed time between an inquiry and a response. The performance
of a network depends on a number of factors, including the number of users, the type of
transmission medium, the capabilities of the connected hardware, and the efficiency of the
software. Performance is often evaluated by two networking metrics: throughput and delay. We
often need more throughput and less delay. However, these two criteria are often contradictory.
If we try to send more data to the network, we may increase throughput but we increase the delay
because of traffic congestion in the network.
In addition to accuracy of delivery, network reliability is measured by the frequency of
failure, the time it takes a link to recover from a failure, and the network's robustness in a
Network security issues include protecting data from unauthorized access, protecting data
from damage and development, and implementing policies and procedures for recovery from
breaches and data losses.
1.2.3 Physical Structures:
Type of Connection
A network is two or more devices connected through links. A link is a communications
pathway that transfers data from one device to another. For visualization purposes, it is simplest
to imagine any link as a line drawn between two points. For communication to occur, two
devices must be connected in some way to the same link at the same time. There are two possible
types of connections: point-to-point and multipoint.
A point-to-point connection provides a dedicated link between two devices. The entire
capacity of the link is reserved for transmission between those two devices. Most point-to-point
connections use an actual length of wire or cable to connect the two ends, but other options, such
as microwave or satellite links, are also possible. When you change television channels by
infrared remote control, you are establishing a point-to-point connection between the remote
control and the television's control system.
A multipoint (also called multidrop) connection is one in which more than two specific
devices share a single link. In a multipoint environment, the capacity of the channel is shared,
either spatially or temporally. If several devices can use the link simultaneously, it is a spatially
shared connection. If users must take turns, it is a timeshared connection.
188.8.131.52 Physical Topology
The term physical topology refers to the way in which a network is laid out physically. One or
more devices connect to a link; two or more links form a topology. The topology of a network is
the geometric representation of the relationship of all the links and linking devices (usually
called nodes) to one another. There are four basic topologies possible: mesh, star, bus, and ring
Mesh: In a mesh topology, every device has a dedicated point-to-point link to every other
device. The term dedicated means that the link carries traffic only between the two devices it
connects. To find the number of physical links in a fully connected mesh network with n nodes,
we first consider that each node must be connected to every other node. Node 1 must be
connected to n - I nodes, node 2 must be connected to n – 1 nodes, and finally node n must be
connected to n - 1 nodes. We need n(n - 1) physical links. However, if each physical link allows
communication in both directions (duplex mode), we can divide the number of links by 2. In
other words, we can say that in a mesh topology, we need n(n -1) /2 duplex-mode links.
To accommodate that many links, every device on the network must have n – 1 input/output
(VO) ports to be connected to the other n - 1 stations.
1. The use of dedicated links guarantees that each connection can carry its own data load,
thus eliminating the traffic problems that can occur when links must be shared by
2. A mesh topology is robust. If one link becomes unusable, it does not incapacitate the
entire system. Third, there is the advantage of privacy or security. When every message
travels along a dedicated line, only the intended recipient sees it. Physical boundaries
prevent other users from gaining access to messages. Finally, point-to-point links make
fault identification and fault isolation easy. Traffic can be routed to avoid links with
suspected problems. This facility enables the network manager to discover the precise
location of the fault and aids in finding its cause and solution.
1. Disadvantage of a mesh are related to the amount of cabling because every device must
be connected to every other device, installation and reconnection are difficult.
2. Second, the sheer bulk of the wiring can be greater than the available space (in walls,
ceilings, or floors) can accommodate. Finally, the hardware required to connect each link
(I/O ports and cable) can be prohibitively expensive.
For these reasons a mesh topology is usually implemented in a limited fashion, for example, as a
backbone connecting the main computers of a hybrid network that can include several other
In a star topology, each device has a dedicated point-to-point link only to a central
controller, usually called a hub. The devices are not directly linked to one another. Unlike a mesh
topology, a star topology does not allow direct traffic between devices. The controller acts as an
exchange: If one device wants to send data to another, it sends the data to the controller, which
then relays the data to the other connected device .
A star topology is less expensive than a mesh topology. In a star, each device needs only one link
and one I/O port to connect it to any number of others. This factor also makes it easy to install
and reconfigure. Far less cabling needs to be housed, and additions, moves, and deletions involve
only one connection: between that device and the hub.
Other advantages include robustness. If one link fails, only that link is affected. All other links
remain active. This factor also lends itself to easy fault identification and fault isolation. As long
as the hub is working, it can be used to monitor link problems and bypass defective links.
One big disadvantage of a star topology is the dependency of the whole topology on one single
point, the hub. If the hub goes down, the whole system is dead. Although a star requires far less
cable than a mesh, each node must be linked to a central hub. For this reason, often more cabling
is required in a star than in some other topologies (such as ring or bus).
The preceding examples all describe point-to-point connections. A bus topology, on the
other hand, is multipoint. One long cable acts as a backbone to link all the devices in a network
Nodes are connected to the bus cable by drop lines and taps. A drop line is a connection
running between the device and the main cable. A tap is a connector that either splices into the
main cable or punctures the sheathing of a cable to create a contact with the metallic core. As a
signal travels along the backbone, some of its energy is transformed into heat. Therefore, it
becomes weaker and weaker as it travels farther and farther. For this reason there is a limit on the
number of taps a bus can support and on the distance between those taps.
Advantages of a bus topology include ease of installation. Backbone cable can be laid along the
most efficient path, then connected to the nodes by drop lines of various lengths. In this way, a
bus uses less cabling than mesh or star topologies. In a star, for example, four network devices in
the same room require four lengths of cable reaching all the way to the hub. In a bus, this
redundancy is eliminated. Only the backbone cable stretches through the entire facility. Each
drop line has to reach only as far as the nearest point on the backbone.
Disadvantages include difficult reconnection and fault isolation. A bus is usually designed to be
optimally efficient at installation. It can therefore be difficult to add new devices. Signal
reflection at the taps can cause degradation in quality. This degradation can be controlled by
limiting the number and spacing of devices connected to a given length of cable. Adding new
devices may therefore require modification or replacement of the backbone.
In addition, a fault or break in the bus cable stops all transmission, even between devices on the
same side of the problem. The damaged area reflects signals back in the direction of origin,
creating noise in both directions.
Bus topology was the one of the first topologies used in the design of early local area networks.
Ethernet LANs can use a bus topology, but they are less popular.
Ring Topology In a ring topology, each device has a dedicated point-to-point connection with
only the two devices on either side of it. A signal is passed along the ring in one direction, from
device to device, until it reaches its destination. Each device in the ring incorporates a repeater.
When a device receives a signal intended for another device, its repeater regenerates the bits and
passes them along
A ring is relatively easy to install and reconfigure. Each device is linked to only its immediate
neighbors (either physically or logically). To add or delete a device requires changing only two
connections. The only constraints are media and traffic considerations (maximum ring length and
number of devices). In addition, fault isolation is simplified. Generally in a ring, a signal is
circulating at all times. If one device does not receive a signal within a specified period, it can
issue an alarm. The alarm alerts the network operator to the problem and its location.
However, unidirectional traffic can be a disadvantage. In a simple ring, a break in the ring
(such as a disabled station) can disable the entire network. This weakness can be solved by using
a dual ring or a switch capable of closing off the break. Ring topology was prevalent when IBM
introduced its local-area network Token Ring. Today, the need for higher-speed LANs has made
this topology less popular. Hybrid Topology A network can be hybrid. For example, we can have
a main star topology with each branch connecting several stations in a bus topology as shown in
1.2.4 Categories of Networks
Local Area Networks:
Local area networks, generally called LANs, are privately-owned networks within a single
building or campus of up to a few kilometres in size. They are widely used to connect personal
computers and workstations in company offices and factories to share resources (e.g., printers)
and exchange information. LANs are distinguished from other kinds of networks by three
(1) Their size,
(2) Their transmission technology, and
(3) Their topology.
LANs are restricted in size, which means that the worst-case transmission time is bounded and
known in advance. Knowing this bound makes it possible to use certain kinds of designs that
would not otherwise be possible. It also simplifies network management. LANs may use a
transmission technology consisting of a cable to which all the machines are attached, like the
telephone company party lines once used in rural areas. Traditional LANs run at speeds of 10
Mbps to 100 Mbps, have low delay (microseconds or nanoseconds), and make very few errors.
Newer LANs operate at up to 10 Gbps Various topologies are possible for broadcast LANs.
Figure1 shows two of them. In a bus (i.e., a linear cable) network, at any instant at most one
machine is the master and is allowed to transmit. All other machines are required to refrain from
sending. An arbitration mechanism is needed to resolve conflicts when two or more machines
want to transmit simultaneously. The arbitration mechanism may be centralized or distributed.
IEEE 802.3, popularly called Ethernet, for example, is a bus-based broadcast network with
decentralized control, usually operating at 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps. Computers on an Ethernet can
transmit whenever they want to; if two or more packets collide, each computer just waits a
random time and tries again later.
Fig.1: Two broadcast networks . (a) Bus. (b) Ring.
A second type of broadcast system is the ring. In a ring, each bit propagates around on its own,
not waiting for the rest of the packet to which it belongs. Typically, each bit circumnavigates the
entire ring in the time it takes to transmit a few bits, often before the complete packet has even
been transmitted. As with all other broadcast systems, some rule is needed for arbitrating
simultaneous accesses to the ring. Various methods, such as having the machines take turns, are
in use. IEEE 802.5 (the IBM token ring), is a ring-based LAN operating at 4 and 16 Mbps. FDDI
is another example of a ring network.
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN):
Metropolitan Area Network:
A metropolitan area network, or MAN, covers a city. The best-known example of a MAN is the
cable television network available in many cities. This system grew from earlier community
antenna systems used in areas with poor over-the-air television reception. In these early systems,
a large antenna was placed on top of a nearby hill and signal was then piped to the subscribers'
houses. At first, these were locally-designed, ad hoc systems. Then companies began jumping
into the business, getting contracts from city governments to wire up an entire city. The next step
was television programming and even entire channels designed for cable only. Often these
channels were highly specialized, such as all news, all sports, all cooking, all gardening, and so
on. But from their inception until the late 1990s, they were intended for television reception only.
To a first approximation, a MAN might look something like the system shown in Fig. In this
figure both television signals and Internet are fed into the centralized head end for subsequent
distribution to people's homes. Cable television is not the only MAN. Recent developments in
high-speed wireless Internet access resulted in another MAN, which has been standardized as
Fig.2: Metropolitan area network based on cable TV.
A MAN is implemented by a standard called DQDB (Distributed Queue Dual Bus) or
IEEE 802.16. DQDB has two unidirectional buses (or cables) to which all the computers are
Wide Area Network (WAN).
Wide Area Network:
A wide area network, or WAN, spans a large geographical area, often a country or continent. It
contains a collection of machines intended for running user (i.e., application) programs. These
machines are called as hosts. The hosts are connected by a communication subnet, or just subnet
for short. The hosts are owned by the customers (e.g., people's personal computers), whereas the
communication subnet is typically owned and operated by a telephone company or Internet
service provider. The job of the subnet is to carry messages from host to host, just as the
telephone system carries words from speaker to listener.
Separation of the pure communication aspects of the network (the subnet) from the application
aspects (the hosts), greatly simplifies the complete network design. In most wide area networks,
the subnet consists of two distinct components: transmission lines and switching elements.
Transmission lines move bits between machines. They can be made of copper wire, optical fiber,
or even radio links. In most WANs, the network contains numerous transmission lines, each one
connecting a pair of routers. If two routers that do not share a transmission line wish to
communicate, they must do this indirectly, via other routers. When 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, stored there until the required output line is free, and then forwarded. A
subnet organized according to this principle is called a store-and-forward or packet-switched
subnet. Nearly all wide area networks (except those using satellites) have store-and-forward
subnets. When the packets are small and all the same size, they are often called cells.
The principle of a packet-switched WAN is so important. Generally, when a process on some
host has a message to be sent to a process on some other host, the sending host first cuts the
message into packets, each one bearing its number in the sequence. These packets are then
injected into the network one at a time in quick succession. The packets are transported
individually over the network and deposited at the receiving host, where they are reassembled
into the original message and delivered to the receiving process. A stream of packets resulting
from some initial message is illustrated in Fig.
In this figure, all the packets follow the route ACE, rather than ABDE or ACDE. In some
networks all packets from a given message must follow the same route; in others each packed is
routed separately. Of course, if ACE is the best route, all packets may be sent along it, even if
each packet is individually routed.
Fig.3.1: A stream of packets from sender to receiver.
Not all WANs are packet switched. A second possibility for a WAN is a satellite system. Each
router has an antenna through which it can send and receive. All routers can hear the output from
the satellite, and in some cases they can also hear the upward transmissions of their fellow
routers to the satellite as well. Sometimes the routers are connected to a substantial point-to-point
subnet, with only some of them having a satellite antenna. Satellite networks are inherently
broadcast and are most useful when the broadcast property is important.
1.3 THE INTERNET
The Internet has revolutionized many aspects of our daily lives. It has affected the way we do
business as well as the way we spend our leisure time. Count the ways you've used the Internet
recently. Perhaps you've sent electronic mail (e-mail) to a business associate, paid a utility bill,
read a newspaper from a distant city, or looked up a local movie schedule-all by using the
Internet. Or maybe you researched a medical topic, booked a hotel reservation, chatted with a
fellow Trekkie, or comparison-shopped for a car. The Internet is a communication system that
has brought a wealth of information to our fingertips and organized it for our use.
A Brief History
A network is a group of connected communicating devices such as computers and printers. An
internet (note the lowercase letter i) is two or more networks that can communicate with each
other. The most notable internet is called the Internet (uppercase letter I), a collaboration of more
than hundreds of thousands of interconnected networks. Private individuals as well as various
organizations such as government agencies, schools, research facilities, corporations, and
libraries in more than 100 countries use the Internet. Millions of people are users. Yet this
extraordinary communication system only came into being in 1969.
In the mid-1960s, mainframe computers in research organizations were standalone devices.
Computers from different manufacturers were unable to communicate with one another. The
Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in the Department of Defense (DoD) was
interested in finding a way to connect computers so that the researchers they funded could share
their findings, thereby reducing costs and eliminating duplication of effort.
In 1967, at an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) meeting, ARPA presented its ideas
for ARPANET, a small network of connected computers. The idea was that each host computer
(not necessarily from the same manufacturer) would be attached to a specialized computer,
called an inteiface message processor (IMP). The IMPs, in tum, would be connected to one
another. Each IMP had to be able to communicate with other IMPs as well as with its own
attached host. By 1969, ARPANET was a reality. Four nodes, at the University of California at
Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), Stanford Research
Institute (SRI), and the University of Utah, were connected via the IMPs to form a network.
Software called the Network Control Protocol (NCP) provided communication between the
In 1972, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, both of whom were part of the core ARPANET group,
collaborated on what they called the Internetting Projec1. Cerf and Kahn's landmark 1973 paper
outlined the protocols to achieve end-to-end delivery of packets. This paper on Transmission
Control Protocol (TCP) included concepts such as encapsulation, the datagram, and the functions
of a gateway. Shortly thereafter, authorities made a decision to split TCP into two protocols:
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internetworking Protocol (lP). IP would handle
datagram routing while TCP would be responsible for higher-level functions such as
segmentation, reassembly, and error detection. The internetworking protocol became known as
The Internet Today
The Internet has come a long way since the 1960s. The Internet today is not a simple hierarchical
structure. It is made up of many wide- and local-area networks joined by connecting devices and
switching stations. It is difficult to give an accurate representation of the Internet because it is
continually changing-new networks are being added, existing networks are adding addresses, and
networks of defunct companies are being removed. Today most end users who want Internet
connection use the services of Internet service providers (lSPs). There are international service
providers, national service providers, regional service providers, and local service providers. The
Internet today is run by private companies, not the government. Figure 1.13 shows a conceptual
(not geographic) view of the Internet.
International Internet Service Providers:
At the top of the hierarchy are the international service providers that connect nations
National Internet Service Providers:
The national Internet service providers are backbone networks created and maintained by
specialized companies. There are many national ISPs operating in North America; some of the
most well known are SprintLink, PSINet, UUNet Technology, AGIS, and internet Mel. To
provide connectivity between the end users, these backbone networks are connected by complex
switching stations (normally run by a third party) called network access points (NAPs). Some
national ISP networks are also connected to one another by private switching stations called
peering points. These normally operate at a high data rate (up to 600 Mbps).
Regional Internet Service Providers:
Regional internet service providers or regional ISPs are smaller ISPs that are connected
to one or more national ISPs. They are at the third level of the hierarchy with a smaller data rate.
Local Internet Service Providers:
Local Internet service providers provide direct service to the end users. The local ISPs
can be connected to regional ISPs or directly to national ISPs. Most end users are connected to
the local ISPs. Note that in this sense, a local ISP can be a company that just provides Internet
services, a corporation with a network that supplies services to its own employees, or a nonprofit
organization, such as a college or a university, that runs its own network. Each of these local
ISPs can be connected to a regional or national service provider.
1.4 PROTOCOLS AND STANDARDS
In computer networks, communication occurs between entities in different systems. An
entity is anything capable of sending or receiving information. However, two entities cannot
simply send bit streams to each other and expect to be understood. For communication to occur,
the entities must agree on a protocol. A protocol is a set of rules that govern data
communications. A protocol defines what is communicated, how it is communicated, and when
it is communicated. The key elements of a protocol are syntax, semantics, and timing.
o Syntax. The term syntax refers to the structure or format of the data, meaning the order
in which they are presented. For example, a simple protocol might expect the first 8 bits of data
to be the address of the sender, the second 8 bits to be the address of the receiver, and the rest of
the stream to be the message itself.
o Semantics. The word semantics refers to the meaning of each section of bits. How is a
particular pattern to be interpreted, and what action is to be taken based on that interpretation?
For example, does an address identify the route to be taken or the final destination of the
o Timing. The term timing refers to two characteristics: when data should be sent and
how fast they can be sent. For example, if a sender produces data at 100 Mbps but the receiver
can process data at only 1 Mbps, the transmission will overload the receiver and some data will
Standards are essential in creating and maintaining an open and competitive market for
equipment manufacturers and in guaranteeing national and international interoperability of data
and telecommunications technology and processes. Standards provide guidelines to
manufacturers, vendors, government agencies, and other service providers to ensure the kind of
interconnectivity necessary in today's marketplace and in international communications.
Data communication standards fall into two categories: de facto (meaning "by fact" or "by
convention") and de jure (meaning "by law" or "by regulation").
o De facto. Standards that have not been approved by an organized body but have been
adopted as standards through widespread use are de facto standards. De facto standards are often
established originally by manufacturers who seek to define the functionality of a new product or
o De jure. Those standards that have been legislated by an officially recognized body are
de jure standards.