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PCS473: COMPUTER NETWORKING I MARKING SCHEAME

Q1. (a) Briefly explain computer networks.

A computer network can be defined as a network of data processing nodes that are
interconnected for the purpose of data communication, or alternatively as a communications
network in which the end instruments are computers.

(b) Computers can be classified based on a number of criteria, briefly describe the
three main types of network classified based on SIZE.

A Local Area Network (LAN) is a communications network that serves users within a confined
geographical area.
A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a communications network that covers a wide geographic
area, such
as state or country.

A MAN (metropolitan area network) which generally covers a city or suburb.

Q2. Briefly explain the following terms:


a.
b.
c.
d.

Network topology
Buss topology
Star topology
Ring topology

A network configuration is also called a network topology. A network topology is the


shape or physical connectivity of the network.

In a bus topology each node (computer, server, peripheral etc.) attaches directly to
a common cable.

With a Star topology, each node has a dedicated set of wires connecting it to a
central network hub.

A ring topology features a logically closed loop of cable - a ring. Data packets travel
in a single direction around the ring from one network device to the next.

Q3 Using not more than three lines of words, briefly explain the following terms:
a. Cable
b. Coaxial cable
c. Twisted-pair cable

Cable is what physically connects network devices together, serving as the conduit
for information traveling from one computing device to another.

Coaxial cable includes a copper wire surrounded by insulation, a secondary


conductor that acts as a ground, and a plastic outside covering.

Twisted-pair cable consists of two insulated wires that are twisted around each other
and covered with a plastic casing. It is available in two varieties, unshielded and
shielded.

Fiber-optic cable is constructed of flexible glass and plastic. It transmits information


via photons, or light.

Q4. The Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) Reference Model has a layered

architecture, state and explain five (5) characteristics of the layered architecture.

They break the communication process into manageable chunks. Designing a small part of a process is much
easier than designing the entire process, and simplifies engineering.

A change at one layer does not affect the other layers. New delivery technologies can be introduced without
affecting other layers.

When a layer receives a message from an upper layer, the lower layer frequently encloses the message in a
distinct package.

The protocols at the various layers have the appearance of a stack, and a complete model of a data
communication architecture is often called a protocol stack.

Layers can be mixed and matched to achieve different requirements.

Layers follow specific procedures for communicating with adjacent layers. The
interfaces between layers must be clearly defined.

Q5. The Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) reference model is the ISO (International

Standards Organization) structure for the "ideal" network architecture. This Model
outlines seven areas, or layers, for the network. With the aid of a diagram state the
various functions of the seven layers.

7: Application: Where the user applications software lies.


6: Presentation: Differences in data representation are dealt with at this level.
5: Session: Communications between applications across a network is
controlled at the session layer.
4: Transport: Makes sure the lower three layers are doing their job correctly,
and provides a transparent, logical data stream between the end user and the
network service s/he is using.
3: Network: This layer makes certain that a packet sent from one device to
another actually gets there in a reasonable period of time.
2: Data Link: This layer deals with getting data packets on and off the wire,
error detection and correction and retransmission.
1: Physical: The nuts and bolts layer. Here is where the cable, connector and signaling specifications are defined.

Q6. Briefly state and explain two (2) advantages and disadvantages of the ISO OSI
Model.

Advantages of the ISO OSI Model

If a network conforms broadly to agreed standards, users are insulated against some of the adverse effects of
technological change - equipment does not become obsolete quickly.

It promotes modularization of network support software. Each module takes the form of a layer in the model
and is responsible for providing selected services to the layer above.

In theory any layer can be replaced by a new layer that provides the same services but in a different way,
without affecting the users view of the framework

Disadvantages of the ISO OSI Model

Due to the complexity of the system poor performance is obtained, especially in some real time applications.

Direct substitution of layers is not always possible e.g. if a LAN with broadcast capability is inserted below a
network protocol that did not support this facility, then this service would be lost to the upper layers.

Although protecting equipment from becoming obsolete it simultaneously hinders technological advancement.