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How Computers Communicate

Data communication is the most important branch of the information technology. Today no business can be successful with the proper implementations of the communication systems. Computers can talk to each other to send and receive the voice, video and data signals.  For two computers to communicate each other it is important that both the computers should understand a common language known as protocols.


There are different types of protocols such as TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI and NetBIOS. In the Ethernet networking, TCP/IP is the most commonly used suite of protocols.  It is used both in the LAN and WAN. Following is the basic requirement of every computer in a network to communicate.


  • Computer must understand the common languages known as protocol such as TCP/IP.
  • TCP/IP must be properly installed and configured in every computer.
  • Every computer must possess a LAN card with updated driver and exact configurations.
  • Apply unique IP address, subnet mask and gateway address to every computer.
  • Apply unique and meaningful computer name to every computer such as PC-1, PC-2, PC-2, Name-Server1, Gateway etc.
  • Coaxial, Twisted Pair UTP/STP or Fiber optic cables.  Both end of any cable should not properly inserted in the computer and in the Hub or switch.


    • A Hub or switch is required when you have more than two computers in your network.
    • A DSL router is required if you want to have high speed Internet connectivity.
    • A wireless router, Wireless LAN cards and access points if you want to have wireless communication between the computers.
    • A workgroup or domain should be created to allow the computers to communicate.  Any computer in the networks either be a part of a workgroup or domain.

    The above are the minimum basic requirements of the computers to be able to communicate with each other in a network.  When two or more computers communicate they are basically sharing the information, data and resources with each other.  There are some predefined rules, standards and devices that are involved in the overall communication process. 

    In the data communication, it is important to learn about the layers model. ISO has introduced a layer model, which is known as OSI layers model.  OSI layers model tells us that how data reaches from source to destination.  There are seven layers in the OSI layers model.

    • Application
    • Presentation
    • Session
    • Transport
    • Network
    • Data Link
    • Physical

    These are the logical layers are data packets travels through all the layers to reach its destination.  With the layered model, it is easy to understand the data communication flow and to troubleshoot the problems.

    Also, you need to understand the common network communication devices such as hub, switch, router, model and CSU/DSU.  Hub and Switch are the LAN communication devices and Router is a LAN/WAN communication device.


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