UTP Cable Standards and Their Usage in Networks

UTP cable standards and their usage
UTP stands for unshielded twisted pair (UTP) Cable. It has two wires twisted around each other. These two wires or conductors form a single circuit. They are twisted around each other so that they negate the electromagnetic interference from other sources. They are not covered with meshes or aluminum foils.
These wires are used in telephone lines and computer networking.

There are some specifications defined for UTP cables by the 568A Commercial Building Wiring Standard of the Electronic Industries Association and the Telecommunication Industries Association (EIA/TIA). We get you acquainted with these UTP cabling standards and their usage in networks in the following write-up.

UTP cabling standards

Category 1 cable

It is also known as Cat 1, Level 1, or voice-grade copper cable. It can carry voice signals, but is not capable of transmitting data. Hence, it is used in telephone lines. 1 MHz is the maximum frequency that can be transmitted over this kind of cable. This category is unrecognized by the official TIA/EIA standards.

Category 2 cable

This category contains 4 pairs of twisted cables. We can transmit both voice and data over it. The maximum frequency that can be transmitted over it is 4 MHz, and the maximum bandwidth that can be transmitted over it is 4Mbps. Anixter International, a leading distributor of network components, defines this category as Level 2 although TIA/EIA-568 does not recognize it.

Category 3 cable

This category consists of 4 pairs of twisted copper wire that have 3 twists per foot. It is defined by TIA/EIA-568B. It transmits data up to 10Mbps, and the maximum frequency signal that it transmits is 16 MHz. It is put to use in computer networking. But currently instead of this, Cat5e or Cat6 cables are used in practice.

Category 4 cable

This category of cables consists of 4 twisted pairs of copper wires. It can transmit data up to 16Mbits/s, and the maximum frequency that it can transmit is 20 MHz. It can be put to use to transmit voice and data over telephone lines. Earlier, it was also used in token ring, 10BASE-T, and 100BASE-T4 networks. But now Category 5 cables are used for it. Also, it is not recognized by the current version of the TIA/EIA-568B.

Category 5 cable

It again consists of 4 twisted pairs of copper wires and uses balanced line twisted pair design. It uses differential signaling to minimize noise. It is capable of transmitting data up to 100Mbps. It carries voice and video signals. It also carries digital data signals over computer networks. It is used in 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet).

Category 5e (enhanced) is an improvised version of Category 5. It scores over category 5 by delivering better transmission performance during high data traffic. Although category 5 is not recognized, category 5e is defined in TIA/EIA-568B.

Category 6 cable

This category is recognized by TIA/EIA-568B specifications. It is capable of transferring data signals with a frequency as high as 250 MHz. It holds backward compatibility with category 5/5e and category 3 cable standards. It is technically advanced to avoid crosstalk and system noise. It transmits signals over 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet), and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet).

Augmented Category 6 or category 6a cable can perform for frequencies up to 500 MHz and has improved alien crosstalk characteristics.

Category 7 cable

ISO/IEC 11801 class F cabling is also known as Category 7 cable. It transmits signals at frequencies of 600 MHz. It is backward compatible with class D/category 5e and Class E/Category 6. It eliminates crosstalk and system noise better. However, it is not recognized by TIA/EIA-568.

Key Differences Between IPv4 and IPv6

Difference between IPv4 and IPv6
In this present age, it is impossible to imagine communication of any kind at all without the Internet Protocol, or IP. Networks around us, including the broadband (or any other variation of) Internet connection provided to us by our Internet Service Providers (ISPs), local area networks (LAN) in our school or place of work, mobile networks provided by our carrier, and wide area networks (Wi-Max, for example), all thrive only because they employ the IP logical addressing scheme, the worldwide standard, as their backbone (or in rare cases, they make use of a different network layer protocol that is translatable to IP).

The IPv4 protocol, which was defined in the early 80s, when the concept of the Internet was still in its nascent stages, has been the predominant IP standard for more than two decades. But since the turn of the millennium, the movement towards shifting to networks with the newer IPv6 architecture has begun. If you are curious to know how and why IPv6 was incorporated in the first place, how it differs from IPv4, and what its features are, you can put your doubts to rest, as we at Buzzle have laid out an in-depth comparison of the two to help you understand both of them better.

Understanding How IP Works

• According to the OSI model (the standard analogy used to represent the working of the Internet), the Internet Protocol (IP) is a network layer protocol that encapsulates the data segments it receives from the immediately higher transport layer, into datagrams or data packets, which are then forwarded to their respective destination networks.

• This protocol, restricted to packet-switched networks, is a connectionless one that works as per the best-effort delivery model, which means that it can neither ensure reliable data transfer, nor take care that the data packets that it carries are delivered in the correct order.

• That is why IP works in coordination with an overlying transport layer protocol called TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), which has the ability to provide reliability, and for over a quarter of a century, the Internet that we are familiar with has been following this same TCP/IP architecture.

• The Internet Protocol segments the Internet into small networks, each of which is assigned its own network IP address. Every individual network can accommodate a certain number of devices, which are known as hosts or end systems. Every host that is connected to a network is assigned a unique IP address.

• In other words, a network address represents a sort of IP address pool, from where IP addresses can be handed out to individual hosts that connect to it, and this address will be its identity both within and outside the scope of the network, for as long as it is connected to it.

Specifics of IPv4

• An IPv4 address is 32 bits long. It is presented in the form of four blocks of 8 bits (1 byte) each, separated by a period (“.”), and is written in decimal notation.

• Each block of bits in the address, when translated to a decimal notation, is a numerical value that falls within the range of 0 to 255. An example of a typical IPv4 address would be 10.3.104.150.

• In all, there are around 4 billion possible IPv4 addresses. However, these addresses cannot be assigned at random to any host, or the network that it is connected to. The dynamic formation of LANs, VPNs, and other mini networks, on a need basis at different nodes on this vast interconnected mesh of servers, hosts, and other devices that we call the Internet, brought about the need to reserve IPv4 addresses for public and private use.

• Private IPv4 addresses were allotted to various organizations and institutions to serve as their network address. The entire pool of possible IPv4 addresses was categorized into three classes.

Class Range of Private IPv4 Addresses
A 10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255
B 172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255
C 192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255

• Network classes are actually a representation of how many subnetworks (or subnets), a network having an address that falls within the given range of addresses reserved for the respective class, can be broken into, and how many hosts each subnet can hold.

• A subnet mask is another address that is presented in a format similar to the IPv4 address, which represents this information (the number of hosts and subnets a particular network can accommodate), and it too is provided along with the IPv4 address to network layer devices like routers and network switches, which are used to maintain connectivity between networks.

• When a large network was subnetted, the smallest possible subnetwork it could be broken down into (in terms of number of hosts) was still significantly large. Whenever a private address was allotted to a relatively small institution, it led to a lot of IPv4 address wastage, and this contributed to the rapid depletion of allocatable IPv4 addresses.

• A few techniques were developed in the 90s to overcome these problems. One of them, Variable Length Subnet Masking (VLSM), paved the way for Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR), which allowed networks to be broken down into subnets as per the need, so as to restrict the squandering of IPv4 addresses, and network routes to be summarized before being shared across network layer devices, so as to reduce Internet traffic.

• Another technique called Network Address Translation (NAT) was designed to keep private networks (like LANs) within an organization isolated from the public Internet, and connected only by a gateway, at which point the routes within both networks would be translated to each other. Because of this, internal networks could repeat IPv4 addresses that had actually been allotted to some other host/network in some other part of the world, as there was no end-to-end connectivity.

• It was this impending problem of IPv4 address exhaustion that mainly led to the development of a new standard as a long-term solution.

How IPv6 Comes to the Rescue

• An IPv6 address has 128 bits, is presented in the form of eight blocks separated by colons (“:”), and is written in hexadecimal notation. An example of a typical IPv6 address would be 101:fc20:10:9d:47:4b:2:f98d.

• Since the number of bits in a single IPv6 address is 128, the total number of addresses that it is possible to generate using this scheme is colossally large. This helps to overcome the problem of IPv4 address collision, and hence, it does not require the implementation of methods like NAT. However, this is not the only advantage of IPv6 over IPv4.

• IPv6 is, in fact, an evolutionary advancement of IPv4. While IPv4 relies on manual effort or protocols like DHCP to allot addresses to hosts and networks, IPv6 is automatically configured on the network, as it supports Stateless Address Auto Configuration (SLAAC). What’s more, the mere configuration of IPv6 on a network results in automatic routing and automatic reallocation of addresses.

• The IPv6 packet header structure is a lot simpler than the one employed by IPv4. Only the necessary fields of the IPv4 header have been retained, and certain others have been added; for example, the Flow Label. Flow labeling gives IPv6 the ability to keep track of all the packets in a single stream of data, enabling better quality of service than its predecessor.

• The IPv6 protocol is backward compatible with IPv4, and can, hence, understand IPv4 packets as well.

• IPv6 has built-in security features, and is capable of providing encryption, authentication, and privacy. It ensures packet integrity.

• Although multicast transmission (a single data packet is sent to multiple destinations) of data is supported in IPv4, it requires different kinds of algorithms to implement it. However in IPv6, multicast routing is handled much better. Packets can be sent to specific groups of hosts or networks. The whole process of multicast communication is aided by IPv6’s streamlined approach to host/network automatic discovery and connection.

Migration towards an IPv6-based Internet has already begun, ever since the last remaining blocks of IPv4 addresses were allotted to organizations back in 2011. Today, a number of Internet giants like Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, YouTube, and many others have already adopted the all-IPv6 architecture in their servers/networks. In the future, the digital world will see a transformation into full-fledged IPv6 networks, which will herald the coming of forthcoming generations of telecommunication.

Difference Between RG-6 and RG-59 Coaxial Cables

All coaxial cables are constructed with a steel, copper, or aluminum conductor core, which is surrounded by a layer of white/black dielectric insulation. This is further covered with a tube-like braid of copper wires, which is wrapped around by a solid polyvinyl chloride insulating cover called a jacket. Some coaxial cables may have a layer of foil between the dielectric and the conducting core. Coaxial cables use the RG system to differentiate between the various kinds of cables. RG stands for an obsolete military term ‘Radio Guide’. The numbers are used to distinguish one cable from the other, but they are assigned randomly and carry no specific meaning.

RG-6 and RG-59 are two of the most common varieties of coaxial cables, i.e., cables that conduct electricity to transmit signals of radio frequencies, computer networks, and cable televisions. You may also find these cables designated as RG-6/U or RG-59/U, but there is no difference. Both types differ in their construction, uses, and range of capabilities. We shall now look at how one can tell the difference between RG-6 and RG-59 coax cables, and identify one from the other.

How to Identify RG-6 and RG-59 Cables

Construction: Ideally, to identify if the cable is RG-59 or RG-6, one only has to look at the jacket/outer covering, where the details of the cable are printed. However, if this printing is not visible, look for the thickness and the flexibility of the cable. Both cables have 75 Ohm resistance. However, the RG-59 cable has a 22 American wire gauge center of multiple strands of wire, while the RG-6 cable has 18 American wire gauge center with a solid copper core. This means that the RG-59 cable is smaller in diameter than the RG-6. Further, RG-6 cables can have additional foil and wire braid shields along with thicker dielectrics, which reduce the flexibility, lessen the degradation of signals, and are able to carry such signals for longer distances.

Selection of Coaxial Cables: RG-59 cables are best used where transmission distances are short, and the frequencies used are lesser than 50 MHz. Therefore, they are ideal for CCTV security camera networks. Using frequencies larger than 50 MHz will cause electromagnetic interference and degradation of the signal. In cases where transmissions are needed for long distances or signal frequencies of up to 1.5GHz, RG-6 cables are the best. Thus, they are ideal for TV antennas, satellite transmissions, and high-speed Internet broadband. Also, RG-6 cables have thicker and more durable jackets, which make them more suitable as compared to RG-59 cables for outdoor use.

RG-6 vs. RG-59 Coaxial Cable Performance

Operating Frequencies: RG-59 is made for appliances that require signals of frequencies lower than 50 MHz, such as high-definition plasma televisions or video projectors. However, this cable is unable cope with signal frequencies which run in GHz, because the wiring and shielding is too thin. Therefore, the quality of the signal is lowered, and it cannot be used for satellite and cable transmissions.

RG-6 is a thicker cable with a large conductor, which allows it to process better signal quality through higher frequencies than RG-59 with reduced signal degradation. This also makes it good for satellite, cable, and high-voltage transmissions for TV antennas. On the other hand, RG-6 cannot handle low frequencies below 50 MHZ.

Signal Loss: RG-6 cables generally have better shielding than RG-59. This means that signal loss is lesser. Signal loss for RG-59 cables at 50, 400, and 1,000 MHz per 100 feet is 2.4, 7.0, and 12.0 decibels, respectively. The same for RG-6 cables is 1.5, 4.3, and 7.0 decibels. Higher quality of signals and additional materials make RG-6 slightly more expensive than the RG-59.

As you can see, the RG-6 cable has the edge over the RG-59 cable. With the continuous, rapid advances of communication systems around the world, the use of RG-6 cables will increase significantly over that of RG-59 type.

Different Types of Servers

A server is a device with a particular set of programs or protocols that provide various services. Together, a server and its clients form a client/server network, which provides routing systems and centralized access to information, resources, stored data, etc.
At the most ground level, one can consider it as a technology solution that serves files, data, print, fax resources and multiple computers. The advanced server versions, like Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 enable the user to handle the accounts and passwords, allow or limit the access to shared resources, automatically support the data and access the business information remotely. For example, a file server is a machine that maintains files and allows clients or users to upload and download files from it. Similarly, a web server hosts websites and allows users to access these websites. Clients mainly include computers, printers, faxes or other devices that can be connected to the server. By using a server, one can securely share files and resources like fax machines and printers. Hence, with a server network, employees can access the Internet or company e-mail simultaneously.
Types of Servers
Server Platform
Server platform is the fundamental hardware or software for a system which acts as an engine that drives the server. It is often used synonymously with an operating system.
Application Server
Also known as a type of middleware, it occupies a substantial amount of computing region between database servers and the end user, and is commonly used to connect the two.
Audio/Video Server
It provides multimedia capabilities to websites by helping the user to broadcast streaming multimedia content.
Chat Server
It serves the users to exchange data in an environment similar to Internet newsgroup which provides real-time discussion capabilities.
Fax Server
It is one of the best options for organizations that seek minimum incoming and outgoing telephone resources, but require to fax actual documents.
FTP Server
It works on one of the oldest of the Internet services, the file transfer protocol. It provides a secure file transfer between computers while ensuring file security and transfer control.
Groupware Server
It is a software designed that enables the users to work together, irrespective of the location, through the Internet or a corporate intranet and to function together in a virtual atmosphere.
IRC Server
It is an ideal option for those looking for real-time discussion capabilities. Internet Relay Chat comprises different network servers that enable the users to connect to each other through an IRC network.
List Server
It provides a better way of managing mailing lists. The server can be either open interactive discussion for the people or a one-way list that provides announcements, newsletters or advertising.
Mail Server
It transfers and stores mails over corporate networks through LANs, WANs and across the Internet.
News Server
It serves as a distribution and delivery source for many public news groups, approachable over the USENET news network.
Proxy Server
It acts as a mediator between a client program and an external server to filter requests, improve performance and share connections.
Telnet Server
It enables the users to log on to a host computer and execute tasks as if they are working on a remote computer.
Virtual Servers
A virtual server is just like a physical computer because it is committed to an individual customer’s demands, can be individually booted and maintains privacy of a separate computer. Basically, the distance among shared and dedicated (hosting) servers is reduced providing freedom to other customers, at a less cost. Now, it has become omnipresent in the data center.
Web Server
It provides static content to a web browser by loading a file from a disk and transferring it across the network to the user’s web browser. This exchange is intermediated by the browser and the server, communicating using HTTP.
Other types of servers include Open source servers, Gopher server (like a plain document, similar to WWW and the hypertext being absent), and Name server (applies name-service protocol).

The various servers can be categorized according to their applications. Servers along with managing network resources are also dedicated, i.e., they perform no other task other than their server tasks.

Benefits of Intranet to Business

What is Intranet?
Intranet is a private computer network based on the Internet that can be accessed by the employees of an organization. An Intranet provides easy access to internal files and documents to the various employees of the organization, from their individual workstations. Sharing of data, made possible through the Intranet, not only helps in saving time of employees, but also allows employees from various levels to access data. It also contributes to a paperless office.
Benefits of Intranet
Today’s most modern businesses are adopting intranet technology due its competitive advantages in dealing with the corporate information essential for any business.
Communication
Intranet is extremely beneficial for communication and collaboration between the employees for successful functioning of any business organization. Intranet provides this to businesses in the form of tools like discussion groups, Intranet forms, and bulletin boards. Intranet tools help in conveying and distributing necessary information or documents among the employees of an organization.
This results in easy communication and sound relationship between the employees and top-level management. Today, many business houses working on projects use intranet tools, discussion forms, chats, emails, electronic bulletin boards, etc. that helps in communication between different departments of an organization.
Time Saving
Every business knows the importance and value of time. Intranet technology allows to distribute valuable information among the employees in a quick and efficient manner. Intranet saves time by interactivity, i.e employees can access information at a relevant time that suit them, rather than sending and waiting for email and email replies.
Productivity
Intranet technology provides fast information to employees and helps to perform their various tasks with responsibility. An employee can access any data from any database of the organization without wastage of time. Employees working on projects can collaborate easily, ensuring better and faster results.
Reduce Costs
An important benefit of Intranet is that it’s cost-effective. This can be attributed to the fact that it’s paperless. As Intranet supports online publishing, it definitely cuts down the printing and distribution cost. All the documents of the company can be published through Intranet using web pages, as compared to spending money on printing documents. The information can be accessed from the respective workstations of the employees thus reduces costs for administrative and operational purposes.
Rich in Format
Intranet allows employees to view documents in various rich format applications as well as video and audio. Multimedia programs can be used with intranet as well, allows better communication and information to be shared quickly.
Incorporated and Distributed Computing Environment
Intranet supports an active distribution of stored information through different types of operating systems and computer types, from which the employees can access information. Intranet results in distributing information at a low cost due to the web architecture feature of intranet.
Increases Collaboration
As intranet allows all employees to access data, this helps build team work activities within the organization. Also certain contents of intranet like declaration section, help desk, FAQ, handbook of employee, etc., aids in collaboration among the employees.
Training
Intranet technology is well suited for presenting different types of e-learning content in various formats to the employees. Also Intranet allows to conduct induction programmes.
Increased security
Since Intranet is a private network, the information is shared among employees through firewalls. Hence Intranet provides increased internal security.
Apart from all these benefits, Intranet also promotes equal corporate culture in information viewing. Intranet helps in
maintaining good communication between different departments and also facilitates an immediate updation of operations. It provides teleconferencing software for interactive communication within the organization.
Implementing Intranet in a business organization helps save significant time and money in the long run. Truly a boon to all business organizations, the benefits of Intranet to business has made it a necessity rather than a luxury, for most organizations.

Star Topology Advantages and Disadvantages

Did You Know?
In the field of computers, ring, bus, tree, and star are the names assigned to specific network topologies.
Basically, the term ‘network topology’ refers to the layout pattern of interconnections of various elements of a computer network, like the nodes, links, etc. The concept is further categorized into two types: (i) physical topology, which refers to the physical design of a network, and (ii) logical topology, which focuses on how the data is actually transferred within the network.
The physical topology is further classified into six different types; namely, the point-to-point network, ring network, mesh network, bus network, tree network, and the star network. Of these, the star network in particular is considered very popular owing to its numerous advantages. That is not to say it doesn’t have any disadvantages of its own. It is important to go through the advantages and disadvantages of different network topologies―and not just the star topology alone―to determine which of these is suitable for you.
wireless-technology
What is Star Topology?
In this type of network topology, all the nodes are connected individually to one common hub. The transmission stations are connected to the central node in such a manner that the design resembles the shape of a star, and hence, the name. The star topology design resembles a bicycle wheel with spokes radiating from the center. In this case, data exchange can only be carried out indirectly via the central node to which all the other nodes are connected.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Like we said earlier, even the star topology has its own positives and negatives which have to be taken into consideration when evaluating the feasibility of the setup. While the isolation of devices happens to be its triumph card―with most of its advantages revolving around this particular aspect, its dependence on the central hub is definitely an issue of concern.Advantages

▶ It is very easy to install and manage the star network topology, as it is the simplest of the lot when it comes to functionality.
▶ It is easy to troubleshoot this network type, as all computers are dependent on the central hub which invariably means that any problem which leaves the network inoperable can be traced to the central hub.
▶ In star network topology, data packets don’t have to make their way through various nodes. The fact that there is no data collision adds to its performance by making data transfer considerably fast.
▶ Also, the fact that data packets only make it through three different points ensures that the data is safe.
▶ As the nodes are not connected to each other, any problem in one particular node doesn’t hamper the performance of other nodes in the network.
▶ Adding new machines or replacing the old ones is easy in this network topology, as disruption of the entire network is not required to facilitate the same.

Disadvantages

▶ The foremost problem with the star network topology is the fact that it is highly dependent on the functioning of the central hub.
▶ The size of the network is dependent on how many connections can be made to the hub. As the number of connections increases, so does the size, and thus, the infrastructure.
▶ If you opt for the star topology, you will require more cable than what you would if you opt for the linear bus topology. So, the expenses incurred on the former will also be relatively high.
▶ The performance of the entire network is directly dependent on the performance of the hub. If the server is slow, it will cause the entire network to slow down.
▶ If one of the nodes utilizes a significant portion of the central hub’s processing capability, it will reflect on the performance of other nodes.
▶ If the central hub is compromised, it will leave the entire network vulnerable.

star-network

As you see most of the disadvantages of star topology revolve around the dependence of entire network on the central hub, which, in turn, means that the failure of the hub can leave the entire network inoperable.

There also exists a concept of extended star topology, where even though the network is based on physical star topology, it has one or more repeaters between the central hub and peripheral nodes, which extend the maximum transmission distance beyond what is supported by the transmission power of the central hub. In this case, the fact that it increases the reach of the central hub is its biggest advantage. However, as with the simple variant of star topology, the cost incurred on the added infrastructure can be a disadvantage.