|Lesson 9|| Supporting business over the Web |
| Objective || Key infrastructure technologies that support business |
Supporting Business over the Web
Describe the key infrastructure technologies that support business over the Web.
The following technologies support business over the Web and have drastically changed how business is done.
Routers and TCP/IP
Most of the attributes such as transmission reliability and bandwidth control are being accomplished at the transport layer protocol level. Routers at the network layer are becoming addressable by the business application layer in terms of making rules that govern the transport.
Most high-level network protocols (such as the TCP UDP) only provide a unicast transmission service. That is, nodes of the network only have the ability to send data to one other node at a time. A better way to transmit data from one source to many destinations is to provide a multicast transport service. With a multicast transport service, a single node can send data to many destinations by making just a single call on the transport service. The benefits of multicast are more than just logical: many underlying transmission media (such as Ethernet) provide support for multicast and broadcast at the hardware and media-access level. When a multicast service is implemented over such a network, there is a huge improvement in performance. If the hardware supports multicast, packet "A" that is destined for "n" recipients can be sent as just a single packet.
- TCP: TCP is one of the main protocols in TCP/IP networks. Whereas the IP protocol deals only with packets, TCP enables two hosts to establish a connection and exchange streams of data.
TCP guarantees delivery of data and also guarantees that packets will be delivered in the same order in which they were sent.
- User datagram protocol: UDP is a connectionless protocol that, like TCP, runs on top of IP networks. Unlike TCP/IP, UDP/IP provides very few error recovery services, offering instead a direct way to send and receive datagrams over an IP network. It us used primarily for broadcasting messages over a network.
MBONE web page
MBone, or multicast backbone on the Internet, is an extension to the Internet to support IP multicasting (two-way transmission of data between multiple sites). The MBONE is a virtual network because it shares the same physical media ( wires, routers, and other equipment) as the Internet. The MBONE allows multicast packets to travel through routers that are set up to handle only unicast traffic. Software that utilizes the MBONE hides the multicast packets in traditional unicast packets so that unicast routers can handle the information.
The scheme whereby multicast packets are moved by putting them in regular unicast packets is called tunneling 
The difference between multicasting and the MBONE lies in the fact that multicasting is a network routing facility, a method of sending packets to more than one site at a time. The MBONE is a loose confederation of sites that currently implement IP multicasting.
For more information on MBONE, take a look at the MBONE web page.
Tunneling works by encapsulating a network protocol within packets carried by the second network. For example, tunnels are now used to connect islands of networks over the physical Internet.
This is known as the Virtual Private Network (VPN, see below), and allows virtual secure networks to be created without the need of hardware.
Most of the application-network interaction takes place within the router/transport layer, but heterogeneous (disparate) networks present interesting architectural challenges. For example, ensuring the interoperability between networkprotocols is no simple task. When transactions need to occur between two businesses or networks, resolving messaging issues between protocols is a necessity.
Examples of disparate networks that need to communicate include Ethernet, token ring, FDDI, ATM .
- Interoperability: The ability of software and hardware on different machines to communicate with each other.
- Protocols: Sets of rules that regulate the way data is transmitted between computers. Examples are PPP, TCP, IP, RIP, POP, SNMP, SMTP, SLIP, ARP, RARP, PAP.
- Ethernet: A popular type of local area network (LAN), which sends data through radio frequency signals carried by a coaxial cable. Each computer on the LAN checks to see if another computer is transmitting and waits its turn to transmit.
If two computers accidentally transmit at the same time and their messages collide, they wait and send again in turn.
- Token ringA local area network (LAN) in which computers are configured in a ring. A message (token) is passed from desktop to desktop. The token is used to avoid conflicts in transmission. A computer can only transmit messages while it holds the token. Token ring was developed by IBM
- FDDI : Fiber Distributed Data Interface. An industry standard covering the transmission of data, as pulses of light, over fiber optic links. Fiber optics allow data to flow at very high speeds, for example 100Mbps.
- ATM: Asynchronous Transfer Mode is network technology based on transferring data in cells or packets of a fixed size. The small, constant cell size allows ATM equipment to transmit video, audio, and computer data over the same network, and assure that no single type of data hogs the line.
A technology that enables one network to send its data via another network's connections.