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Basic Definitions: Protocol

 Protocol: A formal specification of how things should

communicate. In networking a protocol defines an interface
usually (though not necessarily) between one computer and
 A simple example of a protocol “Knock and Enter”:
1. Knock on the door.
2. Wait for someone to say “Come in.”
3. If someone says “Come in.” then open the door and enter.
4. If you wait for five minutes then give up.
 We might want to combine this with a protocol for saying
“Come in” when you hear a knock.
 Two computers need to use the same protocol to talk to one
another. The definition of protocols is critical to networking.
Basic Definitions: Bit, Byte, Octet,
Packet, Header, Bandwidth
 Bit: A 0 or a 1 – the basic unit of digital data.
 Byte: A short collection of bits (usually assumed to be 8
bits – but may, rarely, be 7, 16 or 32).
 Octet: A collection of 8 bits.
 Packet: A collection of bits in order assembled for
 Header: Part of packet with info about contents.
 Bandwidth: The amount of data which can be sent on a
channel. Usually bits per second – sometimes in bytes
(octets) per second.
 KB = kilobytes. Kb = kilobits.
Basic Definitions: Host, Router,
Switch, Source, Destination
 Host: A machine which is a point on a network
which packets travel through – a node in a graph.
 Router: A host which finds a route for packets to
travel down – an intermediate point in a journey.
 Switch: Often used interchangeably with router
but implies that the routes are “fixed”.
 Source: Where data is coming from.
 Destination: (or sink) Where data is going to.
A Simple Model of Reliable Internet
 To send data to another computer:
 Find the address of the computer you are sending to.
 Break the data into manageable chunks (packets).
 Put the address on each packet (packet header) and
also your own address.
 Send each packet in return to the receiving computer.
 Get a receipt for each packet which has been sent.
 Resend packets for which we do not have a receipt.
 The receiver then reassembles the packets to retrieve
the data sent.
TCP/IP model in summary
The IP header
 IP packets all have a header as shown
About the IP header
 Type of Service: (Best efforts, immediate
delivery etc)
 Total length (of whole packet)
 Identification (number of packet for later
 Fragment offset – sometimes the network splits a
packet into fragments.
 Flags (information about fragments). DF= Dont
Fragment MF= More Fragments to come
About the IP header (2)
 Time To Live (TTL) – When it reaches zero
packet is killed. (This is to ensure that the
network doesn’t fill up with lost packets).
 Protocol – identified by a number (usually TCP
or UDP).
 Checksum – to ensure that the packet is not
 IPv4 allows over 4 billion computers (but not really) –
inefficient subnetting is using these up.
 IPv6 allows 16 octet addresses (4 octets in IPv4).
 3x1038 addresses (> Avogadro’s number). 7x1023 IP
addresses per square meter of the earth’s surface.
 Why so many? Electrical devices may want IP addresses
– your house could be its own subnetwork. Why NOT?
 Better security than current IP(v4).
 Allow “roaming hosts”.
 Pay more attention to type of service (for real time data).