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Basics of Computer Networking

Definitions

Computer Networking refers to the system in which many computers / devices are interconnected to each other to share information and resources by the help of networking devices and protocols.

Protocols

Protocols, in the context of computer networking, are a standard set of rules which are followed when transferring data from one device to another. Some of them are, tcp, ip, ftp, ssh and so on

Networking devices

Devices such as routers, hubs, switches, bridges are used to establish connection between devices

Computer Networking - Router
Symbol of a router
Computer Networking - Router
How it actually looks like

Simplest kind of connection

The simplest kind of connection is a connection between two devices using a cable. Now it is known that cables for connecting devices is primitive today and most of things are wireless today. In fact you might not even recognize some of the devices in this article even though you are probably familiar with networking to some extend. Actually this is how everything was times ago and will help you understand the basics of computer networking. Remember what you see around yourself is based on the old principles.

Lets say a computer and a mobile phone are connected in this way. And lets say we are supposed to send some data, lets say a video from the computer to the phone. Here the computer is said to be the server and the mobile is called client. Since the computer is where the mobile is expecting to get data from.

LAN

A LAN(local area network) is a connection of multiple devices by the means of a hub or a switch(Hub are primitive technology today as it can’t figure out who the client for a specific data is)

LAN

A switch has a simple task, lets say computer C wants to send some data to A. A switch recognizes each device by it’s MAC address(A MAC address is a 12 digit hexadecimal number which is globally unique for every device on earth and is given to a device by the hardware manufacturing company when is is being made. You can check yours in settings of your device). So when C would specify which device it wants to send data to, which is A, the switch will look at A’s MAC address and sent the data accordingly.

Routers

A router is a device which basically connects many Switches(LAN). Also many routers connect to each other. In this way, it is possible for devices which are geographically located far from each other to communicate. This mightbe referred as a wide-area-network(wan). Just like in a lan, devices connect to each other by the means of their MAC address, IN a wan, devices have unique IP addresses. AN IP address is a 32-bit number.

WAN

This is in fact how the entire internet works. You can say the internet we see is a big wan.

How we actually see it around

Now in computer networking , things like routers, switches are very basic fundamentals, You might not see them around much, specially a switch, although you use internet everyday. Well everything you see around yourself are indeed derived or you can say upgraded version of these fundamentals. Lets see how things work around you.

While many of you might get internet connection, or you can say ‘wifi’ from a router. Many might not have it but are still able to connect to data. Well in today’s world, to connect to the internet, you need to buy a data plan which are provided by several internet service providers. They either install a router from which devices in your home might get connection from in the form of WIFI(here router is working very similarly like a switch, which is a new technology you might say). Or they might give you a cellular connection. An internet connection given directly to a device.

Talking about a switch, well, it’s a device which, you might think is old, but is in fact how many devices in a big company connect to each other. Although routers as I mentioned, can connect many devices too today, like a switch, but as you might know, things like file transferring is not possible.

Now bluetooth, as some might say, is a replacement of a switch, but it’s actually just limited for two devices. Also it’s not very efficient.

Now all this was just tip of the ice-berg. You might wanna know about TCP-IP after this

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