What is Wireless/Computer Networking?

In the world of computers, networking is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data. Networks are built with a mix of computer hardware and computer software.

What is the difference between a hub and a switch? Which one is better for my network?

A switch is effectively a higher-performance alternative to a hub. Technically speaking, hubs operate using a broadcast model and switches operate using a virtual circuit model. When four computers are connected to a hub, for example, and two of those computers communicate with each other, hubs simply pass through all network traffic to each of the four computers.

Switches, on the other hand, are capable of determining the destination of each individual traffic element and selectively forwarding data to the computer that actually needs it. By generating less network traffic in delivering messages, a switch performs better than a hub on busy networks.

What is the difference between the types of cable - UTP, Patch, Stranded, Solid?

UTP stands for Unshielded Twisted Pair. It is a cable type with pairs of twisted insulated copper conductors contained in a single sheath. UTP cables are the most common type of cabling used in desktop communications applications.

Stranded cable has several small gauge wires in each separate insulation sleeve. Stranded cable is more flexible, making it more suitable for shorter distances, such as patch cords.

Solid has one larger gauge wire in each sleeve. Solid cable has better electrical performance than stranded cable and is traditionally used for inside walls and through ceilings - any type of longer run of cable.

Patch Cables are made of stranded copper conductors for flexibility. This construction is great for the flexing and the frequent changes that occur at the wall outlet or patch panel. The stranded conductors do not transmit data signals as far as solid cable.

What are the maximum lengths for cables?

For solid UTP:

  • Fast Ethernet 100baseT 100 Meters (328 feet)
  • Twisted Pair Ethernet 10baseT 100 Meters (328 feet)

Recommended maximum lengths for Patch Cables made from stranded cable:

  • Fast Ethernet 100baseT 10 Meters (33 feet)
  • Twisted Pair Ethernet 10baseT 10 Meters (33 feet)

Is Cat 5e backwards compatible?

Yes it works with any 10BaseT or 100BaseT network cards and hubs. Cat 5 is also upwardly compatible with Cat 5e, however your network throughput will only be as fast as the slowest part.

Can I run Cat 5e Ethernet cable outside?

Cat 5e cable is not rated for outdoor use, however it can generally be used without a problem. If possible, run the cable through some kind of conduit to prevent moisture or an attractive site for lightning to strike. You should be able to find gray PVC conduit suitable for cable at any hardware store. Remember, 100 Meters is your max distance, without some kind of hub, bridge or amplification.

What is attenuation?

The degeneration of a signal over distance on a network cable is called attenuation.

What are the possible ways of data exchange?

  • Simple
  • Half-duplex
  • Full-duplex