What is a network channel or connection point in a data communication system?

A data network is a system designed to transfer data from one network access point to one other or more network access points via data switching, transmission lines, and system controls. Data networks consist of communication systems such as circuit switches, leased lines, and packet switching networks. Data networks and data networking solutions impact nearly all modern day communication, such as telecommunications and the Internet.

What is a network channel or connection point in a data communication system?

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What is a Data Network?

The primary purpose of data transmission and networking is to facilitate communication and sharing of information between individuals and organizations. The two predominant types of data networks are broadcast networks, in which one node transmits information to several nodes simultaneously, and point-to-point networks, in which each sender communicates with one receiver.

Signals are typically transmitted via three main methodologies:

  • circuit switching: Before two nodes communicate, they establish a dedicated communications channel through the network.
  • message switching: Each message is routed in its entirety from switch to switch; at each switch, the message is stored and the information is read before being transmitted to the next switch.
  • packet switching: Messages are broken down and information is grouped into packets; each packet is transmitted over a digital network via the most optimum route to ensure minimal lag in data network speed, then the message is reassembled at the destinations. 

In order to establish communication across machines, datacenter networks depend on Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), the Internet Protocol Suite that dictates exactly how data should be packetized, addressed, transmitted, routed, and received.

Categories of Network in Data Communication

There are six primary categories of data communication and networking:

  • Personal Area Network (PAN): a network designed to interconnect electronic devices within an individual personal workspace
  • Local Area Network (LAN): a computer network that consists of access points, cables, routers, and switches that enable devices to connect to web servers and internal servers within a limited area, or to other LANs via Wide Area Networks (WAN) or Metropolitan Area Network (MAN). 
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): a MAN functions similarly to a LAN, but spans an entire metropolitan area or campus. MANs are larger than LANs, but smaller than WANs 
  • Wide Area Network (WAN): a collection of Local Area Networks and other networks that communicate and share information with one another over a large geographic area, likely greater than 50km in diameter. The most expansive WAN is the Internet. 
  • Cellular Data Network: a wireless network distributed over land "cells" in which fixed-location transceiver base stations provide that specific cell with network coverage, transmitting content such as voice and data. Each cell is assigned a unique set of frequencies to avoid interference with other cells in close proximity. 
  • Satellite Network: satellite networks consist of one centralized hub and several thousand remote hubs -- use cases include broadband Internet service, military surveillance, navigation information, radio broadcasts, telecommunications, television programming, transmitting voice and data to mobile devices, and weather data.

What is Data Flow in Networking?

Networking data flows are typically categorized as either simplex communication or duplex communication. Data flow in simplex communication is unidirectional. Data flows only from the designated transmitter to the designated receiver.

Data in duplex communication is bi-directional and can flow back and forth between the designated transmitter and the designated receiver. Duplex communication can be either half-duplex, in which the transmitter and receiver can only operate in succession, or full-duplex, in which the transmitter and receiver can operate simultaneously.

The data link layer is the protocol layer in the Open Systems Interconnection model of computer networking that manages the transfer of data in and out of a physical link in a network. The data link layer consists of two sublayers: the logical link control (LLC) sublayer and the media access control (MAC) sublayer.

The three primary functions of a data link layer are: managing and developing recovery strategies for issues caused by transmission errors, ensuring the data flow frequency is manageable for sending and receiving devices, and facilitating the transmission of data to the network layer. Data packets are first encoded, decoded, and organized before being transmitted between adjacent nodes.

Frame sequencing capabilities within the data link layer can facilitate the reorder of data frames that are received out of order. The data link layer can identify points of congestion and reroute traffic. The data link layer can also detect if a data packet is impaired and report the errors to high-level protocol layers.

Advantages of Data Networks

There are several advantages for setting up a data network architecture:

  • Shared Resources: A data network enables the sharing of information without requiring a physical connection. Resources such as printers, storage, Internet can be shared.
  • Communication:  Linking computers via a data network enables easy and fast communication, such as emails and file transfers, without requiring a physical transfer medium, such as a USB flash drive.
  • Collaboration: Multiple users at different locations can work collaboratively and simultaneously on the same document or project remotely.   
  • Centrally Stored Software: A single copy of software stored on a central resource can be accessed remotely by a given user with access credentials. 
  • Central Database: Any relevant member of an organization can access a central database via data networks with access credentials

The advancement of data networking technologies has changed the way that computer network systems share data. Where once a single connection was sufficient, the use of computer network technologies such as network hubs, switches, and routers are now necessary to route data across such a wide variety of paths and between such a vast number of different nodes.

Does HEAVY.AI Offer a Data Network Solution?

Big data network monitoring is a crucial, proactive step in predicting how a network behaves, where system failures may occur, where computer network security vulnerabilities may occur, and how best to reconfigure a network to avoid bottlenecks and latency. Embedded network performance monitoring software and tools can help automate this process, providing analysts with the ability to instantly query and visualize billions of transactions and continuous flows of sensor data packets across entire data networks.‍

HEAVY.AI’s converged analytics platform leverages the parallel processing power of CPUs and GPUs to accelerate SQL queries and facilitate real-time interaction with big network data analytics, enabling data analysts to rapidly discover actionable insights regarding network impairments, points of congestion, signal strength, network security, data flow speeds and transmission errors. Learn more about how HEAVY.AI enables big data analytics in the telecom industry here.

A network is an interconnection between various communication elements connected by various communication links for information interchange. When two or more elements are connected in a limited geographical area to share their resources and information, they are said to be in a network. We can see examples of a network in almost every field around us.

But in this blog, we'll mainly focus on computer networks. We'll also study the nodes present in a network, classifications, goals, and applications of a network.

A computer network is a system in which multiple computers are connected to each other to share information and resources. In other words, it is a network of various communicating devices or elements connected by communication links. The communication elements can be a computer, mobile, router, switch, etc., and communication links can be an optical fibre cable, coaxial fibre cable, wireless LAN, etc.

In a computer network, one process in one device is able to send/receive data to/from at least one process residing in a remote device. The internet is a network of networks. It is not managed by a single organization.

In a computer network, a node is either a connection point, a redistribution point, or a communication point. In other words, a node refers to a point or joint where a connection takes place.

It can be a computer or device that is part of a network. Generally, two or more nodes are needed in order to form a network connection. The definition of a node depends on the network and protocol layer referred to.

A node may be a data communication equipment (that can be used to establish communication, such as modem, hub, bridge, switch, etc.) or a data terminal equipment (that can be an end device, such as digital telephone, handset, printer, host computer, etc.).

A physical network node is an active electronic device that is attached to a network. It is capable of sending, receiving, or forwarding information over a communication channel.

Each device on a network that has a unique logical or IP (Internet Protocol) address can also be termed as a node. When connected in a network, every node in a network must have a MAC address. MAC address is a unique identifier assigned by device manufacturers to a network interface controller (NIC) for communications in a network. NIC is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network. When connected to the internet or intranet, the nodes are referred to as internet nodes. These nodes are identified by their IP addresses.

Some Data Link layer devices(switches, bridges, WLAN access points, etc.) do not have an IP address. Thus, they are physical but not internet nodes.

In a distributed network, nodes can be clients, servers, or peers. It may also use some virtual nodes, so as to maintain transparency. In cloud computing, each user computer that is connected to a cloud can be treated as an end node.

The degree of connectivity of a node is the measure of the number of connections a node has with other nodes.

A computer network can be classified on the basis of communication media, functional relationships, topology, and scale of the network.

Now have a look at all these classifications one by one.

  • Classification based on communication media:

Computer Networks can be broadly classified in the following two categories based on communication media:

  1. Wired Network: It can be implemented using coaxial cable, optical fibre cable, etc.
  2. Wireless Network: It can be implemented using Terrestrial Microwave, Communication Satellites, Wireless LANs.
  • Classification according to scale:

Computer Networks can be broadly classified in the following three categories according to scale or the area of a network:

  1. LAN: It is the acronym for Local Area Network. It is confined to a small geographical area such as a library, college building, etc.
  2. MAN: It is the acronym for Metropolitan Area Network. It is confined to a large geographical area such as a city or town.
  3. WAN: It is the acronym for Wide Area Network. It is confined to a very large geographical area such as a country or even the whole world.
  • Classification based on Network topology:

Computer Networks can be broadly classified in the following five categories based on network topology i.e based on how the nodes are connected in a network:

  1. Bus: In this network topology, every node is connected to a single cable, also called a bus.
  2. Star: In this network topology, all the devices are connected to a single hub through a cable. This hub is the central node. The hub can be active or passive in nature.
  3. Ring: In this network topology, a ring is formed between various nodes that connect a device with its exactly two neighbour devices.
  4. Mesh: In this network topology, every node is connected to another node via a particular channel.
  5. Hybrid: This network topology is a combination of two or more topologies.
  • Classification based on Functional Relationship:

Computer Networks can be broadly classified in the following three categories based on functional relationship:

  1. Active Networking: It allows the packets flowing through a telecommunications network to dynamically modify the operations of a network.
  2. Client-Server Networking: It is a network in which a client runs the program and access data that are stored on the server.
  3. Peer-to-Peer Networking: This network facilitates the flow of information from one peer to another without any central server.

The main goal of a computer network is mainly related to interconnection and information interchange. Some major goals of a computer network are as follows :

  • Resource Sharing: All the devices present in a computer network can share their resources with each other.
  • Reliability: A computer network makes the system reliable. If one node fails, the working of all nodes will not be affected.
  • Money Efficiency: In a computer network, nodes can share hardware and software components with each other, thus making it money efficient.
  • Scalability: A computer network makes the system scalable. We can add or remove the nodes from the network with our convenience.

A computer network can be applied to various fields some of the application areas are as follows:

  • Business Applications: In business a computer network can be used for B2B, and B2C communication.
  • Home Applications: Home applications of a computer network can be accessed for remote information, person-to-person communication, electronic commerce, etc.
  • Mobile Applications: Mobile applications of computer networks can be mobile banking, communication, etc.
  • Social Applications: Social applications of computer networks can be various social networking applications like facebook, twitter, etc.

This is all about computer networks and its node. Hope you learned something new today.

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