# Section Nine Fundamentals of communication and networking practice

```AQA A level Computer Science
Teaching and Learning Resources
Section Nine Fundamentals of communication and
networking practice
1
2
When data is transmitted, additional bits of data are often added to each bit string:
a)
Asynchronous data transmission uses start and stop bits. Use an example to explain
the purpose of these.
When sending a character, an 8-bit Unicode representation may be used. The start bit
would be added to the beginning of the 8-bit code and the stop bit added to the end to
create a 10-bit code.
b)
The ASCII coding system uses seven bits to encode a character. The eighth bit can be
used as a parity bit. Explain how a parity bit is used when transmitting ASCII codes
using even parity.
Even or odd parity can be used. Depending on the 7-bit code being used a further bit is
added to make the number of bits either odd or even depending on which method is
being used. On receipt, the 8-bit code is checked to see whether the number of bits is
still odd or even. If it isn’t then the data must be corrupted and needs to be resent.
c)
Use an example to show how a check digit can be used. What is the purpose of the
check digit?
A check digit uses the values in the data being sent to generate a digit. For example,
with an ISBN book code, the last digit is a check digit. When data is transmitted it is
sent with the check digit. On receipt, the check digit can be recalculated. If it is
different the data must be corrupt and needs to be resent. For example: if sending the
data 12345 a check digit could be calculated by adding the values, dividing by 3 and
using the whole number part as the check digit, which would be 15/3 = 5.
A college uses a LAN (Local Area Network) to share software and printers between its
students. The diagram below shows the current topology.
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a)
Name this topology.
Star topology
b)
Give one advantage of this topology.
It has a fast connection speed, as each client has a dedicated cable.
It will not slow down as much as other network types when many users are on-line.
Fault-finding is simpler, as individual faults are easier to trace.
It is relatively secure, as the connection from client to server is unique.
New clients can be added without affecting the other clients.
If one cable or client fails, then only that client is affected.
c)
Give one disadvantage of this topology.
It is expensive to set up, due to increased cabling costs.
If the cable fails, then that client may not be able to receive data.
It is difficult to install, as multiple cables are needed. The problem is exaggerated
where the LAN is split across a number of buildings.
The server can get congested, as all communications must pass though it.
3
Computers could be connected in a topology such as a star or bus. State one advantage of a
bus topology over a star topology.
A bus topology is cheaper to install than a star topology, as only one main cable is required.
A bus topology is easier to install than a star topology.
It is easy to add new clients to a bus topology, by branching them off the main cable.
4
An example of a fully qualified domain name is www.aqa.org.uk. Using this example, explain
a)
www
Indicates that the resource is available on www
5
b)
aqa
The name of the organisation
c)
org
The type of website. In this case it is an organisation, which usually means that the
d)
uk
The country code.
The domain name is referred to as a look-up for the IP address.
a)
What does this mean?
Every domain name maps directly to an IP address. IP addresses are difficult for people
to remember, so a domain name is used instead. When the domain name is typed in,
the DNS is used to link the domain name to its IP address.
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b)
6
The Internet is one example of a WAN (Wide Area Network).
a)
Describe a WAN.
A WAN is a collection of computers and devices connected together over a large
geographical distance.
b)
Identify two protocols that are used on the Internet. Why are protocols needed?
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
Secure Shell Protocol
Post Office Protocol
A protocol is a set of rules. They are needed on the Internet as there are so many
different types of hardware and software, all of which have to work with each other.
c)
Explain how security of data transmission could be improved with the use of a digital
signature.
A digital signature is a way of ensuring that a person on the Internet is who they say
they are. Digital signatures are generated using mathematical functions and the
public/private key method.
d)
Describe how public and private keys are used to create asymmetric encryption.
With two computers, A and B:
• A will have a private key known only to A.
• A will also have a public key, which is mathematically related to the private
key. It is called a public key as anyone can access it.
• B will also have a private key and a related public key.
• For A to send a secure message to B, A will first encrypt the message using B’s
public key.
As the private and public keys are related, the message can only be decrypted by B
using B’s private key.
• As no-one else knows B’s private key, even if the message were intercepted, it
could not be decrypted.
•
7
Why do users prefer to use a domain name, rather than an IP address, to access a
server?
Domain names are easier to remember than a series of numbers and they are more
meaningful in that the domain name usually tells us something about the people or
organisations that operate the site.
A computer connects to a server using Port 60. The IP address and port number create a
a)
What is a socket?
A socket is an endpoint of a communication flow across a computer network. It
consists of an IP address followed by a port number.
b)
What is a port number?
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A port number identifies a specific application that can be accessed via a network and
is identified by a number appended to an IP address. Common applications have
dedicated port numbers which are called well-known ports.
c)
A numeric identifier that identifies a single node on a network.
d)
How can computers connected to a network be identified?
8 Port A of the router in the diagram below is assigned the IP address 192.168.1.1. Port B is
assigned the IP address 213.208.10.146. Which of these IP addresses needs to be
registered with an Internet Registry and why?
Workstation1
Workstation1
Workstation1
Switch
Port A
Router
Port B
ISP
213.208.10.146 because it is the public address.
9
Some governments put pressure on ISPs to monitor and control the way in which users
access the Internet. Give two reasons why governments may want to control users’ access to
the Internet.
They might be worried about people misusing the Internet, for example, to plan terrorist
activities.
They might be worried that people are using it to express thoughts and beliefs that are
contrary to those of the government of that country.
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10
Explain how the Collision detection system called Carrier Sense Multiple Access with
Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA) CMSA/CA protocol works in a WiFi network.
When data is sent around networks, it is sent in frames, with all the frames being reassembled at the receiving end. Any device on a wireless network may attempt to send
frames. These data frames can be picked up by any nodes or devices within range. Before
each frame is sent, the device uses the CSMA/CA protocol to see whether the transmission
medium is idle or whether another device is using it. If the transmission media is idle, the
data is sent. If it is busy, the device will wait and try again later. Each device will then wait a
random amount of time before checking to see if the medium is free again, so that it can
send the data. This is known as a back-off mechanism and is random, to reduce the chances
of both devices trying to send simultaneously again.
11
What is the relationship between baud rate, bit rate and bandwidth?
Baud rate represents a state change in the transmission. Bit rate is the amount of bits that
can be sent within a given time frame. Bandwidth represents the amount of data that can be
sent down a transmission medium within a given time frame.
12
The star topology below is configured as a client server network.
a)
Explain the term client server.
‘Client server’ is where one computer (the server) provides resources to other
computers (clients). The server is usually a high-spec machine with lots of processing
power and storage capacity.
b)
Under what circumstances might a peer-to-peer network be used?
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Where computers in a network wish to share resources, for example, file sharing. This
is a common configuration for a home network where several computers are linked
together without any of them acting as the main server.
c)
Explain the difference between a thick and thin client.
This refers to the amount of resources (processing power, storage) that is available to
the client. A thin client might not have its own processing power and storage, whereas
a thick client will.
13
The full IP address of a workstation in a network is shown in binary as:
01110101.00110010.10010100.10101000
255.255.255.0. Show how the subnet mask would be applied and what the resulting address
would be.
01110101.00110010.10010100.00000000 Network ID
The mask would be applied as shown so that only the subnet represented by the last 8 bits
would be referenced.
14
What are the main features of the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol?
SSH is used to improve the security of the connection. It does this partially by creating a
secure network of nodes through which the access is made available. The data being
transmitted is encrypted using public key encryption. In addition, password and user name
As SSH is secure, it is a useful protocol through which to access other services. For example,
if you wanted to access the mail server remotely, it would be more secure to do this using an
SSH protocol than to access the mail server without it.
SSH commands are usually input using a command line interface. This means that you have
to know specific command words and the syntax (or format) in which you need to type the
words in.
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