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LAN switching Basics


Networking Basics

Here are some of the fundamental parts ofa network:


  • Network - A network is      a group of computers connected together in a way that allows information to be exchanged      between the computers.
  • Node - A node is      anything that is connected to the network. While a node is typically a      computer, it can also be something like a printer or CD-ROM tower.
  • Segment - A segment is      any portion of a network that is separated, by a switch, bridge or router,      from other parts of the network.
  • Backbone - The      backbone is the main cabling of a network that all of the segments connect      to. Typically, the backbone is capable of carrying more information than      the individual segments. For example, each segment may have a transfer      rate of 10 Mbps (megabits per second), while the backbone may operate at 100 Mbps.
  • Topology - Topology is      the way that each node is physically connected to the network (more on      this in the next section).
  • Local Area Network (LAN) - A LAN is a network of computers that are in the same general physical      location, usually within a building or a campus. If the computers are far      apart (such as across town or in different cities), then a Wide Area      Network (WAN) is typically used.
  • Network Interface Card      (NIC) - Every computer (and most other devices) is connected to a      network through an NIC. In most desktop computers, this is an Ethernet card      (normally 10 or 100 Mbps) that is plugged into a slot on the computer's motherboard.
  • Media Access Control (MAC)      address - This is the physical address of any device -- such as      the NIC in a computer -- on the network. The MAC address, which is made up      of two equal parts, is 6 bytes long. The first 3 bytes identify the company that made the NIC. The second      3 bytes are the serial number of the NIC itself.
  • Unicast - A unicast is      a transmission from one node addressed specifically to another node.
  • Multicast - In a      multicast, a node sends a packet addressed to a special group address.      Devices that are interested in this group register to receive packets      addressed to the group. An example might be a Cisco router sending out an update to all of the other Cisco routers.
  • Broadcast - In a      broadcast, a node sends out a packet that is intended for transmission to      all other nodes on the network.
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