Local area network Basics – Networking Video Tutorial

Local area network basics will cover all the LAN concepts.

In this lesson you will learn about

1. Describe Ethernet Standard – Local area network basics
2. Explain Ethernet
3. understand the concept of CSMA/CD and CSMA/CA protocols
4. Explain different types of Ethernet
5. Understand about repeaters, bridges and hubs used to extend computer networks
6. Ethernet is a widely used method of networking computers in LAN environment
7. Protocols are a set of rules that nodes on a network use to communicate
8. CSMA/CD is a network control protocol which uses a carrier sensing system
9. CSMA/CA is a set of rules used to avoid collisions
10. 10 Base-2, 10 Base-5, 10 Base-T and 10 Base-F are types of ethernet cabling
11. Repeaters, bridges and hubs are used to extend computer networks

Collisions Local area network Basics

Ethernet is a shared medium, so there are rules for sending packets of data to avoid conflicts and to protect data integrity. Nodes determine when the network is available for sending packets. It is possible that two or more nodes at different locations will attempt to send data at the same time. When this happens, a packet collision occurs.

Minimizing collisions is a crucial element in the design and operation of networks. Increased collisions are often the result of too many users on the network. This leads to competition for network bandwidth and can slow the performance of the network from the user’s point of view. Segmenting the network is one way of reducing an overcrowded network, i.e., by dividing it into different pieces logically joined together with a bridge or switch.


In order to manage collisions Ethernet uses a protocol called Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection (CSMA/CD). CSMA/CD is a type of contention protocol that defines how to respond when a collision is detected, or when two devices attempt to transmit packages simultaneously. Ethernet allows each device to send messages at any time without having to wait for network permission; thus, there is a high possibility that devices may try to send messages at the same time.

After detecting a collision, each device that was transmitting a packet delays a random amount of time before re-transmitting the packet. If another collision occurs, the device waits twice as long before trying to re-transmit.

Ethernet Products Local area network Basics

The standards and technology just discussed will help define the specific products that network managers use to build Ethernet networks. The following presents the key products needed to build an Ethernet local area network basics.


Transceivers are also referred to as Medium Access Units (MAUs). They are used to connect nodes to the various Ethernet media. Most computers and network interface cards contain a built-in 10BASE-T or 10BASE2 transceiver which allows them to be connected directly to Ethernet without the need for an external transceiver.

Many Ethernet devices provide an attachment unit interface (AUI) connector to allow the user to connect to any type of medium via an external transceiver. The AUI connector consists of a 15-pin D-shell type connector, female on the computer side, male on the transceiver side.

For Fast Ethernet networks, a new interface called the MII (Media Independent Interface) was developed to offer a flexible way to support 100 Mbps connections. The MII is a popular way to connect 100BASE-FX links to copper-based Fast Ethernet devices.

Network Interface Cards

Network Interface Cards, commonly referred to as NICs, are used to connect a PC to a network. The NIC provides a physical connection between the networking cable and the computer’s internal bus. Different computers have different bus architectures. PCI bus slots are most commonly found on 486/Pentium PCs and ISA expansion slots are commonly found on 386 and older PCs. NICs come in three basic varieties: 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit. The larger the number of bits that can be transferred to the NIC, the faster the NIC can transfer data to the network cable. Most NICs are designed for a particular type of network, protocol, and medium, though some can serve multiple networks.

Many NIC adapters comply with plug-and-play specifications. On these systems, NICs are automatically configured without user intervention, while on non-plug-and-play systems, configuration is done manually through a set-up program and/or DIP switches.

Cards are available to support almost all networking standards. Fast Ethernet NICs are often 10/100 capable, and will automatically set to the appropriate speed. Gigabit Ethernet NICs are 10/100/1000 capable with auto negotiation depending on the user’s Ethernet speed. Full duplex networking is another option where a dedicated connection to a switch allows a NIC to operate at twice the speed.

Hubs/Repeaters Local area network Basics

Hubs/repeaters are used to connect together two or more Ethernet segments of any type of medium. In larger designs, signal quality begins to deteriorate as segments exceed their maximum length. Hubs provide the signal amplification required to allow a segment to be extended a greater distance. A hub repeats any incoming signal to all ports.

Ethernet hubs are necessary in star topologies such as 10BASE-T. A multi-port twisted pair hub allows several point-to-point segments to be joined into one network. One end of the point-to-point link is attached to the hub and the other is attached to the computer. If the hub is attached to a backbone, then all computers at the end of the twisted pair segments can communicate with all the hosts on the backbone. The number and type of hubs in any one-collision domain is limited by the Ethernet rules. These repeater rules are discussed in more detail later.

A very important fact to note about hubs is that they only allow users to share Ethernet. A network of hubs/repeaters is termed a “shared Ethernet,” meaning that all members of the network are contending for transmission of data onto a single network (collision domain). A hub/repeater propagates all electrical signals including the invalid ones. Therefore, if a collision or electrical interference occurs on one segment, repeaters make it appear on all others as well. This means that individual members of a shared network will only get a percentage of the available network bandwidth.

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