Data Communication and Networking: Network Protocols: Network Architecture

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Network Protocols

A protocol is an agreed-upon format for transmitting data between two devices. The protocol determines the following:

  • The type of error checking to be used.

  • Data compression method, if any

  • How the sending device will indicate that it has finished sending a message

  • How the receiving device will indicate that it has received a message

The protocol can be implemented either in hardware or in software. Some of the popular protocols are TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP, Token-Ring, Ethernet, Xmodem, Kermit, MNP, etc.

This image shows network architecture

Image of Network Architecture

Important terms used in Networking:

  • Internet

  • E-mail

  • Voice Messaging

  • E-commerce

  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

  • Teleconferencing

Network Architecture

  • The term architecture can refer to either hardware or software, or a combination of hardware and software.

  • The architecture of a system always defines its broad outlines and may define precise mechanisms as well.

  • A system with a closed architecture, on the other hand, is one whose design is proprietary, making it difficult to connect the system to other systems.

  • As we have seen before, network architectures can be broadly classified as using either peer-to-peer or client/server architecture.

Peer-to-peer Architecture

  • This is a type of network in which each workstation has equivalent capabilities and responsibilities.

  • This differs from client/server architecture, in which some workstations are dedicated to serving the others.

  • Peer-to-peer networks are generally simpler and less expensive, but they usually do not offer the same performance under heavy loads.

This image shows peer to peer network architecture

Image of Peer to Peer Network Architecture

Client/Server Architecture

  • This is network architecture in which each computer or process on the network is either a client or a server.

  • Servers are powerful computers or processors dedicated to managing disk drives (file servers), printers (print servers), or network traffic (network servers).

  • Clients are less powerful PCs workstations on which users run applications.

  • Clients rely on servers for resources, such as files, devices, and even processing power.

This image shows client/server network

Image of Client/Server Network

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