What is Networking
Networking in its basic definition is the sharing of resources among people with the same ideology. You can also say Networking is the exchange of information between a community that share the same interest. The point passed in both definition is that there are two parties involved, and also, there is a transfer or data between them, and lastly they have to be in the same circle. Networking can be between humans, or between machine. In IT, we refer to the connections and communication that enables our devices to communicate as Computer Networking.
computer networking: the 3 friends whisper.
Therefore, we can say Computer Networking is a system where two or more devices connect to each other transfer or share information. So, when we have a computer network, the computers which could be any device such as mobile phone, printers, or even a joystick are interconnect such that they could exchange information easily. Cast your mind back to when you and your two other friend whisper some word in each other’s ear at the sight of your crush.
protocol: the good delivery guy
The information that is shared within a computer network is called data. You should know that a data can be text, images, graphic, even videos. Also, there is a system that enables this devices within a network to share information. It is called communication protocol, or simply protocol. The protocol which is a set of rules helps to transmit data from one device to another. More importantly, the protocol checks for the source, validity, type and permission of the data, then match those details to the right destination. You can call the protocol the good delivery guy who gets the order from the customer, vet the order, ensures the package is in right condition all through the journer, and then proudly delivers it to the destination with a warm ‘thank you’.
Computer Networking: What it is not.
Computer networking is not a set of number that you see every now and then across the web. You should also know that networking is not just about the cables that links one device to another. Also, it is not the internet as you would see later. Computer networking can also be simple at most levels. Like most people at the mention of Computer Networking, you do not need to panic too. It is just not worth the dread. Well, at least for this moment!
Interesting networking Jargons: Let have some analogy.
Now that we know what a computer networking is, lets dive into some interesting stuffs that make up computer network. I made effort to use some simple terms, you could find this part a little intimidating, therefore, I suggest you bookmark this page and come back to read it again. I recommend you reading it about 4 times to let the concept sink.
Truth is many of this services or equipment are used in our day to day activities. These activities range from web surfing, to gaming, to sending emails, cloud technology and even our social media lives. They are all around us.
The computer network are made up of two major building blocks. The Network Node and the Links.
A Network node: The communicator
A Network node is the communication part of the network, these includes modem, hub, switch, or two or more connected printers and computers. If you information transfer in a network start from the node, then you are right. This is why the Node is usually referred to as the Data Communication Equipment (DCE). the DCE are hardwares used to establish and maintain communication between two points i.e destination and source. Every device in a network is referred to as a node.
You can think of nerdy friend that start the little gossip which moves from one person to the other. Everyone that is in that circle of gossip is a node.
A Network Link: the joiner
A Network Link refers to the transmission media that connects two nodes together. Think of a link as the connection between the devices in a network. Links can be physical devices such as cable wires, optical fibre. You should also know that a link can also be virtual like the wireless technology. It is also important to know that a link can be point-to-point, broadcast, point to multipoint, private and public, and multipoint. If a network is likened to a restaurant, a node will be the kitchen chef, and the link is the waiteress.
One important relationship between the node and the link is that nodes follow a set of rules or protocols that define how to send and receive electronic data via the links.
Internet Protocol (ip) Adress: the student’s roll number
Remember we spoke about protocol earlier. I mentioned protocol is a set of rules that defines how data moves within a network. Well, there are various types of protocol.
Internet Protocol (IP) is one of the most used and popular protocol. The IP is also a set of rule that governs the type of information or data that travels of over the internet or local network. It stands to identify logical location of the source and destination of the information sent. This location is usually identified by some set of unique numbers.
These logical numbers are referred to as IP ADDRESS. It is important to mention that the IP address of each device are specific to that device in that network for that particular connection.
There are two classification of the IP address. The IPv4 address which is about 3 billion in circulation. The IPv6 address with about 10 undecillion address. The IPv4 is a legacy address which is threatened by a possibility of going into “extinct” any moment. While the IPv6 came to provide us IP address in excess of abundance. IPv6 consists of alphanumeric number to the tune of 128 bits, more than IPv4 numbers only 32 bits. The IP address of a network device can either be public IP address – usually accessible to other networks over the internet, or the private IP address – not accessible over the internet except through a Network Address Translation (NAT) device. I made a comprehensive post about IP address here.
Subnet: the computer’s matric number
So, now we know the IP address will separate the individual devices in a network. However, the devices in a network can become so large and complex. This can result into headache for engineers when it comes to managing such network. Therefore, to erase the complexity to the barest and allow efficient functionality of the network, there is need to divide the networks into segments.
Each device is divided into subsegment using their IP address. Similar addresses are then assigned a network address pattern that all in the network share. That means, if the network IP address are to serve for devices in a certain location, the IP addresses in that location gets a uniques virtual identifier number.
This method of subdivision of a network in a larger network is called subnetting, subnet or subnetwork. Think of this as student’s matric number. Each matric number contains the school code, the course code, and then the student code, where in this case, the school code is unique to all, while the course code is unique to the student’s course, and then each student is identified with the student ID.
So, the subnet range gives uniqueness to a group of devices in the network. However, due to the uniqueness of the subnet values, there is a subnet calculator to help with knowing the network ranges that should be in a subnet.
Now that we know about the communication between devices, we should also talk about how the communication go over the internet. See, every time you send information outside of your personal area network, a device takes the information for you. This device is called the Router.
The Router is a device that is between the local network and the internet. It is responsible for directing an information to and from the internet to the various device in other computer network. The router is able to do this by using the IP address of each device to identify it. It also allows the same devices to use the same internet connection. Simply put, it serves as a gateway in your network.
A router can pass data between a Local Area Network (LAN) and another LAN, or between a LAN and a Wide Area Network (WAN). There are five (5) types of Router you should know. They include Wireless, Edge, Wired, Core and Virtual Router.
See the Router as the security guard of an hostel gate, the security grants you the permission to visit the other hostel outside your state, however, not without first asking you some few questions, then hand you the permission tag.
A switch is a physical device that is used to connect multiple devices to each other in a computer network. The network switch will help devices to talk together within the network. You should know that a major difference between a Router and a Switch. A router forwards information or data between networks while, a switch forwards data within a devices. Also, while Routers are needed for internet connectivity, Switches are only needed for local device connectivity. Therefore, since the Router is the security at the gate, the Network Switch is the hostel master that is able to move give information from block to block.
In computer networking, the Network Hub is the basic device consisting of multiple port that connects two or more points in a local network using a wired cable. The Hub is also a node in a network. Each time there is a need to connect more device in a network, the Hub is employed for this. The Hub is also divided into 3 types; the Intelligent, the active and the passive hub.
Although, the Switch and the Hub are similar is behaviors, they are different in function. The hub is a passive (non intelligent device) while the Switch is an active (intelligent) device. Also, the Hub only supports a broadcast message, while the Switch support broadcast, multicast and unicast. Another core difference is that the Hub works in the physical layer while Switch works in the data link layer of the network Open Systems Interconnection OSI model.
You remember we talked about IP Address in earlier points, we say the IP is a unique logical identifier of a device in a network. There is also the MAC address. The Media Access Control (MAC) address is a unique 12 character number assigned to a device by the manufacturer of the device. It consists of 6 bytes. Unlike the IP address, the MAC address is assigned to every device from the factory.
You can find the MAC address of a new device on the owners manual or in the Settings of the device or using a third party service, however, you will only know the IP of a device during a connections to another network. An IP address plays on the global network field.
One more major difference between MAC and IP address is that a MAC address cannot change once assigned, however, an IP address changes more easily and frequently, except for floating IPs (which also be reassigned). Therefore if an IP address is a student’s roll number, the MAC address will be the Desk number.
DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM (DNS)
Now, in computer networking, the IP address are sets of non human-friendly-readable number. You have to be very good a maths and number to put them in your head and recall everytime you need them. Say I want you to visit this blog with the IP address 192.888.232.21. How easy will you find memorizing that. Not so good for me as a no numbers person.
However, what if I could give you the address in a more readable text format i.e oxla.io? That’s more like it. Now, you can remember my website name and can visit from any web browser through the oxla.io link. I made a comprehensive post about DNS and Domain Name and how to protect domain names using Let’s encrypt certbot or the ACME certobt in other post.
Transmission control protocol (TCP)
The TCP is a communications standard that enables application programs and computing devices to exchange messages over a network. TCP provides reliable, ordered, and error-checked delivery of a stream of octets (bytes) between applications running on hosts communicating via an IP network
Now that you know these basic concepts in Networking, you should go further to explore each topics individually. And also, take a deliberate look at you own local network to see how those concepts work in reality. This will help you solidify how much your understand what you have read.