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Data Communication

Data Communication are the exchange of data between two devices via some form of transmission medium such as wire cable. Communication can be defined as the exchange of information between one group or person and another group or person. This communication can be between people within the same organisation (internal communication) or with people or groups outside the organization (external communication).

Fundamental Characteristics of Data Communication

The effectiveness of data communication system depends on four fundamental characteristics:- such as Delivery, accuracy, timeliness, and jitter.
  • Delivery:- The system must deliver data to the correct destination. Data must be received by user and only by the device.
  • Accuracy:- The system must deliver the data accurately.
  • Timeliness:- The system must deliver data in a timely manner. Data delivered late are useless.
  • Jitter:- Jitter refer to the variation in the packet arrival time.
In Data communication there are 4 basic Terms:- Data, Signal, Signalling ad Transmission are frequently used.
  • Data:- Data are entities that convey meaning. Data are representation of something whereas information refer to the content or interpretation of data.
  • Signals:- Signals are electric or electromagnetic encoding of data.
  • Signalling:- Signalling is propagation of signal along suitable communication medium.
  • Transmission:- Transmission is communication of data achieved by the proposition and processing of signals.


A data communication system has five components.
  • Message:- The message is the information to be communicated. Information include text, numbers, pictures audio and video.
  • Sender:- The sender is the device that sends the data message. It can be a computer, workstation, telephone, video camera etc.
  • Receiver:- The receiver is the device that receives the message. It can be a computer, workstation, telephone, video camera etc.
  • Transmission medium:- Transmission medium is the physical path by which a message travels from sender and to receiver. Example are twisted pair cable, fiber-optic etc.
  • Protocol:- A protocol is a set of rules (written in the form of program) to perform specific task or action eg. Http, ftp etc.that govern data communication. It represents a agreement between the communicating devices. 

Concept of Data Communication

The concept of data communication evolved from sharing the computation power of a computer along with various resources available in a computer environment such as printers, hard disk etc. Data communication can be used to transfer as exchange confirmation within one building, one city, across cities, countries and continents.

Data communication Code (Data encoding):- Every character (letter, number, symbol) is composed of a group of bits called codes. The most widely used codes are the ASCII (American standards code for information interchange), EBCDIC (Extended Binary coded Decimal Interchange code.
Controlling Authority ANSI IBM
Number of Bits 7 8
Number of characters 128 256

Communication speed or Rate
The speed at which two computers exchanges or transmit data is called communication rate on transmission speed. The unit of measurement of the speed is measured in bits per seconds (bps) or baud. Normal PC based communication transferred using 300 to Mbps whereas mainframe computers uses 19,200 baud.

Communication protocols/Standard:- Protocols is set of rules that perform specific task. In other words protocols are technical customs or guide-lines that govern the exchange of signal transmission and reception between equipments. Both hardware and software are designed to handle specific protocols. 

Communication protocols are usually defined and approved by some international body such as ISO, CCITT or IEEE. Some of function on protocols regulates are:-
  • Control of information transfer
  • Structure and formats of data
  • Error recoveries
  • Retransmission control
  • Interfaces management.

Protocol Layers

The OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) Data Model:- It is ISO standard for computer networks design and functioning. It has 7 layers and each layer playing a specific role when applications are communicating over the net.
  • Physical layer: ensures a safe and efficient transmission of data; consists of electronic circuits for data transmission.
  • Data link layer: in charge of data encapsulation under the form of frame and their interpretation at the physical layer. 
  • Network layer: in charge of packets transmission from a source A to a destination B.
  • Transport layer: in charge of the delivery of packets from a sources process A to a destination process B. 
  • Session layer: in charge of the management of dialogue between sources and destination.
  • Presentation layer: determines the format of the data transmitted to applications, data compressing/decompressing, encrypting etc.
  • Application layer: contains the applications which are used by the end-user, such as PowerPoint, Word etc.

The TCP/IP Model

Consists of only 4 layers: application, transport, internet and network layer.
TCP/IP Model

  • Network Interface layer: Provides the same functionality as the physical, the data link and network layers in the OSI model and Mapping between IP addresses and network physical addresses. Encapsulation of IP datagram, e.g packets, in format understandable by the network.
  • Internet layer: Based on the Internet Protocol (IP), which provides the frame for transmitting data from place A to place B.
  • Transport layer: Based on two main protocols: TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram protocol)
  • Application layer: Combines the functions of the OSI application, presentation, and session layers. And Protocols involved in this layer: HTTP, FTP, SMTP, DNS etc.


The number of bits that can be transmitted over a network in a given time, usually measured Hz(Hertz).
Broadband is a term referred to some technologies that offers high speed internet connectivity depending on framework and environment. It is a network connection with high enough bandwidth to allow for streaming audio and video. Broadband basically works through its bandwidth. As you increase the width of the band, so you get the speedy access to the internet.

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