Computer Networking Basics

Computer networking involves connecting computers to each other to enable communication and data exchange between them. In general, a computer network is a collection of two or more computers. Helps users communicate more easily. In this article, we will discuss the basic concepts that everyone should know before learning about computer networking.

How does a computer network work?

The basic components of a computer network are nodes and connections. A network node can be represented as a data communication device, such as a modem, router, etc., or as a data terminal device, such as connecting two or more computers. Connections in computer networks can be defined as wires or cables or as free space of wireless networks.


The operation of computer networks can be simply defined as rules or protocols that help in sending and receiving data over connections that enable computer networks to communicate. Every device has an IP address that helps identify a device.

Basic Computer Networking Terminologies Network:

  • Network: A network is a series of computers and devices connected together to enable communication and data exchange.
  • Nodes: Nodes are devices connected to a network. This can include computers, servers, printers, routers, switches and other devices
  • Protocol : A protocol is a set of rules and standards that govern how data is transmitted over a network. Examples of protocols are TCP/IP, HTTP and FTP.
  • Topology : Network topology refers to the physical and logical arrangement of nodes in a network. Common network topologies include bus, star, ring, mesh and tree.
  • Service Provider Networks: These network types grant permission to rent network capacity and functionality from the provider. Service provider networks include wireless communications, data providers, etc.
  • IP Address: An IP address is a unique numerical identifier assigned to each device on a network. IP addresses are used to identify devices and enable communication between them.
  • DNS: The Domain Name System (DNS) is a protocol used to translate human-readable domain names (e.g. www.google.com) into IP addresses that computers can understand.
  • Firewall: A firewall is a security device used to monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic. Firewalls are used to protect networks from unauthorized access and other security threats.

Types of Business Computer Networks

  • LAN: A local area network (LAN) is a network that covers a small area, such as an office or home. LANs are typically used to connect computers and other devices within a building or campus.
  • WAN: A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a network that covers a large geographical area, such as a city, a country, or even the entire world. WANs are used to connect LANs together and are typically used for long-distance communications.
  • Cloud Networks: Cloud networks can be visualized with a Wide Area Network (WAN) as they can be hosted by public or private cloud service providers and cloud networks are available on demand. Cloud networks consist of virtual routers, firewalls, etc.

These are just a few basic concepts of computer networking. Networking is a broad and complex field, and there are many other concepts and technologies that play a role in building and maintaining networks. Now let’s discuss some more concepts about computer networks.

Types of Computer Network Architectures

Computer networks fall into these broad categories:

Client-Server Architecture: Client-server architecture is a type of computer network architecture in which the nodes can be servers or clients. Here the server node can manage the behavior of the client node.

Peer-to-Peer Architecture: In P2P (Peer-to-Peer) architecture, there is no concept of a central server. Each device is free to act as a client or server.

Network Devices
A connection of multiple devices, also called hosts, connected via multiple paths for sending/receiving data or media. Computer networks can also include multiple devices/media that help in communication between two different devices; These are called network devices and include items such as routers, switches, hubs and bridges.

Network topology

Network topology is the arrangement of various devices in a network. Common examples include bus, star, mesh, ring and daisy chain.

OSI model

OSI stands for Open Systems Interconnection. It is a reference model that specifies standards for communication protocols and also the functionalities of each layer. The OSI was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and has a 7-layer architecture. Each OSI layer has different functions and each layer must follow different protocols. The 7 layers are as follows:

  • Physical Layer Data Link Layer
  • Data Link Layer
  • Network Layer
  • Transport Layer
  • Session Layer
  • Presentation Layer
  • Application Layer
  •  

Protocol

A protocol is a set of rules or algorithms that define how two entities can communicate over the network, and there is a different protocol that runs on each level of the OSI model is defined. Some of these protocols are TCP, IP, UDP, ARP, DHCP, FTP, etc.

Unique Network Hostname Identifiers

Hostname: Each device on the network is associated with a unique device name called a hostname. At the command prompt (administrator mode), type “hostname” and press Enter. Your computer’s hostname will then appear.

IP address (Internet Protocol address): IP address, also called logical address, is the network address of the system on the network. To identify every device on the World Wide Web, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigns every device on the Internet an IPV4 (version 4) address as a unique identifier. The length of an IPv4 address is 32 bits, so we have 232 IP addresses available. The length of an IPv6 address is 128 bits.

Type “ipconfig” at the command prompt and press Enter. This will give us the IP address of the device.

MAC Address (Media Access Control Address): The MAC address, also called the physical address, is the unique identifier of each host and is associated with its NIC (network interface card).At the time of manufacture, the network card is assigned a MAC address. The length of the MAC address is: 12 nibble/6 bytes/48 bits. Type “ipconfig/all” at the command prompt and press Enter. This will give us the MAC address.

Port: A port can be called a logical channel through which data can be sent/received to an application. Each host can run multiple applications, and each of these applications is identified by the port number on which it runs.

A port number is a 16-bit integer, so we have 216 ports available, of which are categorized as follows:

Port TypesRange
Well known Ports0 – 1023
Registered Ports1024 – 49151
Ephemeral Ports49152 – 65535

Number of ports: 65,536 
Range: 0 – 65535 

Type “netstat -a” at the command prompt and press Enter. All ports used will then be listed.

Socket: The unique combination of IP address and port number together is called a socket.

Other Related Concepts

DNS Server: DNS stands for Domain Name System. DNS is basically a server that translates web addresses or URLs (e.g. www.google.com) into their corresponding IP addresses. We don’t need to remember all the IP addresses of every single website. Use the “nslookup”command to get the IP address of the domain you are looking for. Here you can also find information about our DNS server.

ARP: ARP stands for Address Resolution Protocol.It is used to convert an IP address into its corresponding physical address (i.e. MAC address). The data link layer uses ARP to identify the MAC address of the recipient computer.

RARP: RARP stands for Reverse Address Resolution Protocol. As the name suggests, it provides the IP address of the device which is assigned a physical address as input. But RARP has been deprecated since DHCP came into play.

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