While designing a network many factors have to be taken into consideration like the area to be covered, capacity of data that has to be handled and even security issues. However when it comes to networks there are LANS or the Local Area Networks and WAN the Wide Area Networks. These are the two major types of networks which are further subdivided into topologies. Any of the topology has to be based on one of the two kinds of network.
A topology means the layout of the network and in what way the nodes or the computers are connected. There are different kinds of topologies that are based either on a LAN network or a WAN network. Topology provides structure to the network and helps one plan the way network should function. Even the troubleshooting aspects are streamlined based on the different kinds of topologies.
Some of the types of topologies are Bus, Ring, Star, mesh, tree and a few more intermediary ones. All these topologies use different equipment, wires and protocols to make data transfer possible. Some topologies are limited to the kind of network. A good knowledge of these topologies is essential while planning the networks.
A network protocol is a medium that is used to transfer data on a network. It is a dictionary of rules that the data has to follow while communicating on the network.
Even information like how the data is going to be packaged in order to be sent across the network or compression methods are all included in the network protocols. The protocol plays an important role in network communication.
Internetworks are usually difficult to design. Among all the topologies the mesh is considered to be a complicated even though the functions of it are simple to understand. An internetwork could easily consist 50 mesh networks and each of the 50 mesh networks is connected. It is also called the inter mesh network. There can be a few thousand of nodes that are communicating within the internetwork. An internetwork works on multiple protocols making it an extremely complicated structure to understand. While designing internetwork extreme diligence has to be used and the problems have to be identified early and troubleshooted immediately or else you might end with a tangled network.
Internetworking or even simple networks is achieved by using many devices like Hubs, Bridges, Switches and Routers.
Hubs: A Hub is a device that is used to connect multiple nodes to a single point and the hub is used to connect these nodes to the network. The signal passes through the hub first and then reaches the nodes so it basically functions like a connector in many networks.
Bridges: Bridges form a connection between two networks and they separate two networks also. Using abridge one can tell when the network ends and the next one starts especially where there are multiple mesh networks.
Switches: Switches are very similar in functionality to the bridges. However the switches use more ports of connectivity than a bridge. Switches are now taking over all other devices including the hubs and the bridges.
Routers: Routers are bigger devices than the hubs, bridges or the switches and are used on bigger networks. They route the data along with connecting many nodes to different networks. The routers also control the network traffic and send and receive data accordingly. The router has the list of IP addresses using which it controls the data flow to the nodes. Small networks usually do not require routers and the server can handle. However bigger networks have to use routers.