Basics of Computer Networking

To properly learn something, we have to start at the beginning. We will be learning one concept at a time, process it, and move to the next.

The goal is consistent learning and absorbing information while feeling engaged and not overwhelmed.

Goal of this article

This article, and the possible series I'll create from it, is meant for those who want to learn about computer networking or networking concepts in general.

So, let's begin.

Computers communicate with each other as humans do. Computer networking is the name we've given to the full scope of how computers communicate with each other. Networking involves ensuring that computers can hear each other, speak protocols other computers can understand, repeat messages not fully delivered.

Humans need ears, hands, expressions, and language for communication. Similarly, computers also need some components for communicating with each other. Here are some of the main components required for communication.

Cables

Cables connect different devices and allow data to be transmitted over them.

There are two types of Cables:

  • Copper Cables

    • They are made up of multiple pairs of copper wires inside plastic insulators.
    • The sending device communicates binary data across these copper wires by changing the voltage between two ranges.
    • The most common forms of copper twisted-pair cables used in networking, are Cat5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 cables.
  • Fiber Optic Cables

    • They contain individual optical fibers, which are tiny tubes made out of glass about the width of a human hair.
    • They use pulses of light to represent the ones and zeros of the underlying data.

Crosstalk

It happens when an electrical pulse on one wire is accidentally detected on another wire. The receiving end isn't able to understand the data causing a network error. Fiber can also transport data over much longer distances than copper can without suffering from potential data loss.

Hubs and Switches

Hubs

Hub is a physical layer device that allows for connections from many computers at once.

Switches

A switch is a data link layer device that is very similar to a hub since we can connect many devices they can communicate with. It determines with help of Ethernet data which system the data is intended for and then only sends that data to that one system.

Hubs and switches are the primary devices used to connect computers on a single network(LAN).

Collision

It is up to each system connected to the hub to determine if the incoming data was meant for them or to ignore it if it isn't. It causes noise on the network and creates a collision domain that is a network segment where only one device can communicate at a time. Switch reduces or even eliminates the size of collision domains on the network.

Routers

  • It is a network layer device that knows how to forward data between independent networks.
  • It can inspect IP data to determine where to send things.
  • Routers store internal tables containing information about how to route traffic between lots of different networks around the world.
  • Routers share data via border gateway protocol(BGP), which lets them learn about the most optimal paths to forward traffic.

Servers and Clients

  • A server is anything that can provide data to a client.
  • The thing receiving the data, is referred to as a client.
  • Every node can be a server and client.

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