CIS 1 - Kurtz 

Santa Monica College 








A system that links computers (nodes) and computer hardware in order to exchange data or share peripherals

Data Communications Model

Sending device(s)

Receiving devices(s)

Communication device(s)

Communications channel


Peer‑to‑peer Network 


Networking between "equals" 
All nodes communicate between one another 
Popular for sharing files within workgroups 




Client‑server network


All nodes connect to a central computer (file server) 
Allows file sharing ‑ particularly useful for sharing central records 
Application programs can reside on the server. Temporary copies are loaded onto workstations as needed. 
Network or site licenses for application programs enable many users to share a server based application. Cost is similar to having local copies at each workstation (i.e., no cost saving for network installations)




Converts between digital signals (computer) and analog signals (telephone) 
Enables communication via the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) 
Internal modems are typically less expensive and mount inside of the computer 
External modems connect to ports or slots available on most desktop and portable computers 
Speed is measured in bits per second (BPS) 
A different line is selected by the telephone company for each call, making connection quality difficult to control

Parameters include speed (baud or bps), data bits, stop bits, and parity, local echo, terminal type



Integrated Services Digital Network

Digital leased telephone lines

Used to transmit digital data over telephone lines

One control line (channel) is combined with multiple 56Kbps data lines.

Three channels provides 128Kbps


Digital Subscriber Line


High data rate

Uses conventional twisted pair cable

T-carrier line

T-1, T-3 (DS1, DS3)

Digital transmission line


May carry multiple signals on one line

High (or very high) speed



Combines multiple data streams onto one line

Reduces equipment requirements

Increases reliability

Increases efficiency of data lines



MAU (Multistation Access Unit)

Central point for network cables

A signal sent to one port is transmitted from all others


Amplifies and retransmits received signals

Used on long communication runs to compensate for signal loss


Connects two networks using same protocol


Connects two networks using different protocols


Connects multiple networks

Allows for multiple protocols

May determine best path for a signal

May provide filtering and security

May block protocols


Local Area Network 



Typically includes one building or group of adjacent buildings 
LAN radius is almost always <1 mile, usually much less 
Computers require a network interface card 
Connecting hardware is typically Coaxial cable (coax) or twisted pair lines. 
GroupWare adds E‑mail, shared calendars, conferencing, etc.


Wide Area Network 


WAN Similar to a LAN, except "wider" 
May cover an entire city, county or be worldwide in the case of a multinational corporation 
May connect LANs and may use coax or twisted pair. 
May also use leased telephone lines, microwave, satellite, or fiber optic links.


Working away from a company’s standard workplace using communications technology


  • Flexibility
  • Job satisfaction
  • Convenience and comfort for disabled employees
  • Combination of personal and business responsibilities
  • Reduced traffic and commutes
  • Decreased personal contact  with other staff


Uses video images and computer technology

Permits face-to-face meetings across great distance


Permits groups of people to work together and share information over a network


Global Positioning System

Determines exact location of a receiver on the earth’s surface

System of satellites in geosynchronous orbit

Satellites transmit signals

Ground receivers triangulate

Fiber Optic Cable

Thin, flexible glass strands

Transmits a modulated laser beam

Low noise susceptibility

High security

High installation cost

Maintenance and repairs are difficult

Cellular Radio

Used by cellular telephones

Used for mobile communications

Transceiver switches between fixed stations as it is moved between “cells”


High frequency radio waves used for communications

High reliability

High bandwidth

Line of site transmission, typically between fixed stations

Generally not secure

Communications Satellite

Space based repeater

High frequency radio (S-band, K-band, X-band)

Satellite transponder relays signals between ground stations

High speed

High bandwidth

Illuminates a large area

Generally not secure



Wireless transmission media

Low frequency light waves

Line of site






Special characters used in electronic communications that look like facial characters to communicate emotions


:)          happy  

:D         very happy      

:(          sad      

;)          wink    

:‑0        Oh!     

:‑P        My tongue is hanging out          

7:‑)       I saw Elvis!      






On‑line Bulletin Board System 
Character based (non‑graphical) 
Typically allows E‑mail, conferencing, advertising, and software downloads (and uploads)




Popular protocol for a high speed LAN developed by Xerox in early 70's using packet switching technology and requiring coaxial cable connections

Allows personal computers to contend for access to network

Requires a bus topology

Token Ring

Protocol for a high speed LAN

Requires a ring or star topology

Nodes share a special signal called a token

Only the node with the token may transmit

Helps prevent data collisions




Packet Switching


Used in many modern network protocols including Ethernet and TCP/IP
Divides data up into small blocks called "packets" with headers containing a source and destination "address"

Bus Topology

Network nodes all connect to a single cable

Ring Topology

Network nodes all connect to a single cable arranged in a loop

Star Topology

Network nodes all connect to a central computer






Print server


A computer on a LAN that regulates the use of one or more printers




A mass mailing of E‑mail for advertising purposes






Tactless message sent in a moment of anger