A network is a system, or collection of systems, that facilitates the exchange of resources from one point to another. This is a fancy way of saying that a network is the sum of the parts connecting two or more points. Examples of networks include the subway, the highway system, the telephone system, and the Internet.A network is made up of physical and logical components. The physical components are the cables and network hardware devices, such as switches. The logical components of a network are the frames and data carried by and across the network.Networks have two points, the source and destination, also known as the origination and termination points (respectively). It also covers the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) model in depth. Working with network models can bring many benefits such as ease of development and troubleshooting. Networking models can be very helpful. This chapter discusses the OSI model, the DoD model, and the Microsoft model, all of which are similar and share common core elements but have differences as well. The vast majority of networks today use TCP/IP to transmit information among computers and networks in a wide area network (WAN). Together, TCP and IP are referred to as a protocol stack or as network/transport protocols because they work together at two different levels (called the Network and Transport layers) to enable computers to communicate with each other.
When working in the field of networking, it is nearly impossible to not come across physical cabling. Unless one has wireless media, one will need some form of cabling and some form of endpoint or termination to one’s transmission media for it to physically connect to a device. This endpoint is called a connector, and it terminates the end of the media, creating a way for it to connect to something else such as a patch panel, switch port, or other connection. This chapter explains what one needs to know about connecting and terminating the most common forms of cable in use today: copper in the form of twisted-pair cable, coaxial cabling, and fiber optics. The understanding of transmission media types, connectors, and termination is essential to being a networking professional. This chapter describes the fundamentals of cabling, the connectors used with them, and the most common tools of the trade.
Network devices are those components of a network that are required for the network to grow, function, or provide certain functionality. There are many devices that make up a network. Hubs are used to provide connectivity by passing from one port in the hub to the others, and thereby enabling data to move from one cable to another. Another device called a Multistation Access Unit (MAU) is like this in that it provides connectivity to a network but is used on Token Ring networks. Bridges are another type of device that is used to connect two different local area networks (LANs) or segment a large LAN into two smaller halves. There are a number of devices that fall into this category—such as routers and switches. These network devices provide functionalities such as connectivity to physical media, security features, and the ability to connect to resources outside the LAN. This chapter briefly discusses convergence and the most common network devices in use today on small and large networks, including the Internet. These devices range from the very simple to the more complex. Media devices are a necessary part of a network, without which connectivity would be impossible.
Ethernet is the traditional technology for connecting devices in a wired local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN), enabling them to communicate with each other via a protocol — a set of rules or common network language. Ethernet describes how network devices can format and transmit data so other devices on the same local or campus area network segment can recognize, receive and process the information. An Ethernet cable is the physical, encased wiring over which the data travels.Connected devices accessing a geographically localized network with a cable — that is, with a wired rather than wireless connection — likely use Ethernet. From businesses to gamers, diverse end users depend on the benefits of Ethernet connectivity, which include reliability and security.Compared to wireless LAN (WLAN) technology, Ethernet is typically less vulnerable to disruptions. It can also offer a greater degree of network security and control than wireless technology since devices must connect using physical cabling. This makes it difficult for outsiders to access network data or hijack bandwidth for unsanctioned devices.
Planning is the first step in configuring TCP/IP. We began this chapter by deciding whether your network will connect to the Internet and exploring how that decision impacts the rest of your planning. We also looked at the basic information needed to configure a physical network: an IP address, a subnet mask, and a broadcast address. We discussed how to plan routing, which is essential for communicating between TCP/IP networks. We outlined the basic network services, starting with domain name service, and discussed file, print, and email servers. Finally, we looked at the different ways that this planning information is communicated from the network administrator to the system administrators and users.
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