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Introduction to TCP/IP Networks

TCP/IP-based networks play an increasingly important role in computer networks. Perhaps one reason for their appeal is that they are based on an open specification that is not controlled by any vendor.

What Is TCP/IP?

TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol and IP stands for Internet Protocol. The term TCP/IP is not limited just to these two protocols, however. Frequently, the term TCP/IP is used to refer to a group of protocols related to the TCP and IP protocols such as the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Terminal Emulation Protocol (TELNET), and so on.

The Origins of TCP/IP

In the late 1960s, DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency), in the United States, noticed that there was a rapid proliferation of computers in military communications. Computers, because they can be easily programmed, provide flexibility in achieving network functions that is not available with other types of communications equipment. The computers then used in military communications were manufactured by different vendors and were designed to interoperate with computers from that vendor only. Vendors used proprietary protocols in their communications equipment. The military had a multi vendor network but no common protocol to support the heterogeneous equipment from different vendors

Network Topologies


What is a Network topology?

A network topology is the geometric arrangement of nodes and cable links in a LAN. There are three topology's to think about when you get into networks. These are the star, ring, and the bus.

Star, in a star topology each node has a dedicated set of wires connecting it to a central network hub. Since all traffic passes through the hub, the hub becomes a central point for isolating network problems and gathering network statistics.

Ring, a ring topology features a logically closed loop. Data packets travel in a single direction around the ring from one network device to the next. Each network device acts as a repeater, meaning it regenerates the signal

Bus, the bus topology, each node (computer, server, peripheral etc.) attaches directly to a common cable. This topology most often serves as the backbone for a network. In some instances, such as in classrooms or labs, a bus will connect small workgroups


Ethernet is a shared media, so there are rules for sending packets of data to avoid conflicts and protect data integrity. Nodes determine when the network is available for sending packets. It is possible that two nodes at different locations attempt to send data at the same time. When both PCs are transferring a packet to the network at the same time, a collision will result.

Minimizing collisions is a crucial element in the design and operation of networks. Increased collisions are often the result of too many users on the network, which results in a lot of contention for network bandwidth. This can slow the performance of the network from the user's point of view. Segmenting the network, where a network is divided into different pieces joined together logically with a bridge or switch, is one way of reducing an overcrowded network.

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