Your ultimate guide to computer networking fundamentals

4 min


For any computer to communicate with another, it needs to have a network. This network is made up of various layers that help ensure successful communication between devices. In this post, we will be discussing the different layers of a computer network as well as some common communication issues, socket programming and protocols. Read on to learn more about computer networking and how you can get started in this lucrative industry.

Layers of a computer network

In any computer network, there are various layers that work together in order for the network to function. Each layer has specific tasks to perform, and all the layers must work together for the network to operate correctly. The most common model used to describe these layers is known Open System Interconnection (OSI).

The seven layers of the OSI model are responsible for different aspects of networking. The physical layer deals with the physical aspects of the network, such as cables, connectors and transceivers.

The data link layer deals with the logical connection between two nodes on the same physical network. It handles error detection and correction, as well as flow control.

The network layer deals with the routing of data packets across the network. It is responsible for finding the best path for data to take, as well as for dealing with congestion control.  The transport layer deals with the end-to-end delivery of data packets. It is responsible for ensuring that data is delivered error-free and in the correct order.

The session layer deals with the establishment and maintenance of communication sessions between two nodes.  The presentation layer deals with the conversion of data into a format that can be understood by the application layer.

Finally, the application layer deals with the applications that use the network. It is responsible for providing interfaces to the applications, as well as for providing services such as file transfer and email.

Network communication issues

There are several potential issues that can arise when communicating over a network.  Data integrity is important in network communication because it ensures that the data being transferred is not corrupted in transit. This can be a problem if the data is being transferred over a long distance, or if it is being transferred through a system that is not reliable. There are several ways to ensure data integrity, including error checking and error correction.

Latency is another issue that can arise in network communication. This is the amount of time it takes for data to be transferred from one point to another. Latency can be a problem if the data is being transferred over a long distance or if there is a lot of traffic on the network. There are a few ways to reduce latency, including using compression, caching and using a faster network.

Finally, security can be a huge issue that should be considered. This is the process of ensuring that the data being transferred is not accessible to unauthorized individuals. There are several ways to ensure security, including encryption, authentication and authorization.

What are sockets, and why use them?

Socket programming is a way of connecting two nodes on a network so that they can communicate with each other. It is usually done by creating a socket, which is an endpoint for communication, and then binding it to an IP address and port number.

Once the socket has been created, data can be sent through it using various methods depending on the protocol being used. For example, with TCP/IP sockets, data is typically sent using the send() or write() system calls. With UDP sockets, data is usually sent using the sendto() system call.

There are two main types of socket programming: stream-oriented and datagram-oriented. Stream-oriented socket programming uses TCP, which ensures that the data that is received is identical to the data that was originally sent. Datagram-oriented socket programming uses UDP, which does not guarantee that the data will be identical to the data that was originally sent.

There are four main steps to socket programming:

  1. Create the socket
  2. Bind the socket to an address and port number
  3. Listen for incoming connections (optional)
  4. Accept an incoming connection (optional)

Sockets provide a clean interface for communication between different applications. Another reason to use socket programming is that it can be used to create custom network applications. For example, socket programming can be used to create a chat application or a file transfer application. Lastly, socket programming can be used to improve the performance of networking applications. By using sockets, applications can avoid the overhead of using standard network protocols, leading to faster communication and better performance.

Common communication protocols

A protocol is a set of rules that govern how data is exchanged between two nodes on a network. There are many different protocols available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

There are a few common internet protocols that are used worldwide. The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the most common protocol for transferring web pages, while HTTPS is an encrypted version of HTTP, used for secure communication on the internet. The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a protocol for transferring files between computers on the internet. The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is a protocol for transferring emails, while the Post Office Protocol (POP) is a protocol for retrieving email from a server. The Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is a protocol for accessing and managing email messages.

An even more in-depth resource for computer networking

Baylor University’s online Master’s in Computer Science program is designed to prepare its graduates for the highest-demand roles in software engineering and data science. The curriculum emphasizes technical proficiency, innovative thinking, ethical considerations, and the trends that are shaping science and technology on a global scale.

The program is designed for students with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics or a related degree. It will prepare you to become an expert in computing with the skills and knowledge needed for leading computer science roles. A degree in computer science is remarkably lucrative, and you’ll have the opportunity to do everything from freelance work to working for big tech companies. According to these statistics from Payscale, the average starting salary is around $108K per year for someone with an MS in computer science.

Earning your Master’s in Computer Science online at Baylor University is a great choice for those looking to pursue a career in software engineering or data science. With a globally connected and ethically centered curriculum, graduates of this program will be prepared to make an impact in the ever-changing world of technology.

Wrapping it up

In conclusion, computer networking fundamentals involve understanding various layers of a network, communication issues that might arise between nodes and common protocols used to facilitate data exchange. Additionally, socket programming and internet protocol technologies are important considerations when developing networks. With an ever-growing reliance on technology, it is crucial for individuals to have a basic understanding of how computer networks function to maintain efficient operations. If you’d like to become more educated on the subject, there are many online resources available that will allow you to learn about both computer networking and computer science in general.

Like it? Share with your friends!