Basic overview of what a network is…

Hi fellows, like everyone of you, I am also in the initials phase on the path towards a Network Engineer/Professional/Expert. Here I will discuss about the the different cases where networking plays an important role and help in running the world that we see today by using daily life example(s).

Kinda a real life example

The most basic thing that uses some sort-of network to function and we all familiar with is the online retail store system. From placing an order to receiving it at your doorstep implements different networks in numerous ways (almost similar to the one used by the internet). Some of the steps that ensure that the package/order is delivered at the right address are:

  1. Before placing your order, you required to log-in with your account and select/enter a delivery address. After completing this you receive an order number (reference id) and the same is lodged in their system
  2. Now your order is being located and picked with help of the reference id (that you were provided) and the product id (product related information available with warehouse/retailer/wholesaler). Once the required product is scanned you receive an alert that your package is ready for pickup.
  3. The package is picked up by the courier service and sent to your nearest center for the deliver:

    During this, the package travels from numerous cities/states/nations and still reaches the reaches the correct address almost every time.

    This is mainly because of the zip/postal code that we entered while placing the order. With the reference of this code, the receiving facility knows whether this package falls in their delivery area or it is required to be sent to another (We can refer these warehouses as hops for our package reach its destination i.e. our address).

    During this traveling process the contents of our package cannot (or should not) be physically seen or accessed by anyone (The only way to know what is inside is to read the label, or to open the package at one these checkpoint, which is an unethical practice and no one recommends of doing such a thing). Finally we can say that our package is encrypted (i.e. the data cannot be accessed without practicing unethical means). The only contact points where this product/package (or data) can be directly accessed is at the sender’s (at the warehouse) and receiver’s (by you) end before its packaging (or encryption) and unpacking (decryption) respectively.
  4. From the placing of order till receiving it at your doorstep, the reference/order id, sender’s and receiver’s address are unchanged. The thing that changes is the zip/postal code at which the package currently is, and the code or address (if the package is in your zip code region) to which it will be sent.

    So, we can say that the from placing of the order till its delivery, the source and destination remain same as the parcel in checks-in and leaves warehouses (hops) on it way home (your home).

Similar is in the case of traffic that we send across the network that we use. While requesting to connect to a network, we are assigned an address (that will remain constant throughout the session, or sometimes, until we change it) known as Internet Protocol address or IP address. Each and every entity present on the internet or a local network will have its own unique IP address using which one can have access to its services.

For delivery services we refer the data as package, and in networking we refer this as packets.

Another thing to keep in mind is , all these entities are not directly connected to each and everyone of us. They are connected using devices known as switches and routers, which play the similar role as the intermediate warehouse does in forwarding the package to the next required checkpoint so that it can reach its destination, without hindering with the integrity of the package. To know the address of the next hop, the present device needs to know its (Media Access Control) MAC address, this address keeps on changing as the our packet moves forward towards its final destination.

If you found it helpful, please share it with your friends. Please comment and tell if there are changes/improvements that can be made here… **THANKS FOR STICKING TILL END**

One response to “Basic overview of what a network is…”

  1. Hi,
    I read your article, really liked the work. Keep up the good work and keep hustling.


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