Answer to Computer Networks and Internet

Chapter 1

1Describe the most popular wireless Internet access technologies today. Compare and contrast them?

There are two most popular wireless Internet access technologies today:

a)      Wireless LAN

In a wireless LAN, wireless users transmit/receive packets to/from a base station    (wireless access point) within a radius of few tens of meters. The base station is     typically connected to the wired Internet and thus serves to connect wireless users       to the wired network.

b)      Wide-area wireless access network

In these systems, packets are transmitted over the same wireless infrastructure        used for cellular telephony, with the base station thus being managed by a   telecommunications provider. This provides wireless access to users within a      radius of tens of kilometers of the base station.


2What advantage does a circuit-switched network have over a packed-switched network? Why is it said that packet switching employs statistical multiplexing?

A circuit-switched network can guarantee a certain amount of end-to-end bandwidth for the duration of a call. Most packet-switched networks today (including the Internet) cannot make any end-to-end guarantees for bandwidth.

In a packet switched network, the packets from different sources flowing on a link do not follow any fixed, pre-defined pattern. In TDM circuit switching, each host gets the same slot in a revolving TDM frame.


3What are the five layers in the Internet protocol stack? What are the principle responsibilities for each of these layers?

The five layers in the Internet protocol stack are – from top to bottom – the application layer, the transport layer, the network layer, the link layer, and the physical layer.


4What is Application-layer message, transport-layer segment, network-layer datagram, link layer frame?

Application-layer message: data which an application wants to send and passed onto the transport layer; transport-layer segment: generated by the transport layer and encapsulates application-layer message with transport layer header; network-layer datagram: encapsulates transport-layer segment with a network-layer header; link layer frame: encapsulates network-layer datagram with a link-layer header.


5Which layers in the Internet protocol stack does a router process, Link layer switches process layers, Hosts process?

Routers process layers 1 through 3. (This is a little bit of a white lie, as modern routers sometimes act as firewalls or caching components, and process layer four as well.) Link layer switches process layers 1 through 2. Hosts process all five layers.


6Compare and contrast WiFi wireless internet access and 3G wireless internet access. What are the bit rates of the two services? What are the costs? Discuss roaming and access ubiquity?



Chapter 2

1List five non-proprietary Internet applications and the application-layer  protocols that they use.

The Web: HTTP; file transfer: FTP; remote login: Telnet; Network News: NNTP; e-mail: SMTP.




Remote login

File transfer

Directory service

P2P file sharing

Streaming media








special protocol











Data link




2What is Network architecture? What is Application architecture? What is the difference between the network architecture and application architecture?

Network architecture refers to the organization of the communication process into layers (e.g., the five-layer Internet architecture). Application architecture, on the other hand, is designed by an application developer and dictates the broad structure of the application (e.g., client-server or P2P).


3Why do HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3 and IMAP run on top of TCP rather than UDP?

The applications associated with those protocols require that all application data be received in the correct order and without gaps. TCP provides this service whereas UDP does not.


4Why is it said that FTP sends control information "out of band"?

FTP uses two parallel TCP connections, one connection for sending control information (such as a request to transfer a file) and another connection for actually transferring the file. Because the control information is not sent over the same connection that the file is sent over, FTP sends control information out of band.


Chapter 3

1Describe why an application developer may choose to run its application over UDP rather than TCP.

An application developer may not want its application to use TCP’s congestion control, which can throttle the application’s sending rate at times of congestion. Often, designers of IP telephony and IP videoconference applications choose to run their applications over UDP because they want to avoid TCP’s congestion control. Also, some applications do not need the reliable data transfer provided by TCP.


2Is it possible for application to enjoy reliable data transfer even when the application runs over UDP? If so, how?

Yes. The application developer can put reliable data transfer into the application layer protocol. This would require a significant amount of work and debugging, however.


Chapter 4

1What are the two main functions of a datagram-based network layer? What additional functions does a VC-based network layer have?

Datagram-based network layer: forwarding; routing. Additional function of VC based network layer: call setup.

Forwarding is about moving a packet from a router’s input link to the appropriate output link. Routing is about determining the end-to-routes between sources and destinations.


2Compare and contrast link-state and distance-vector routing algorithms.

Link state algorithms: Computes the least-cost path between source and destination using complete, global knowledge about the network. Distance-vector routing: The calculation of the least-cost path is carried out in an iterative, distributed manner. A node only knows the neighbor to which it should forward a packet in order to reach given destination along the least-cost path, and the cost of that path from itself to the destination.


Chapter 5

1If all the links in the Internet were to provide the reliable-delivery service, would the TCP reliable delivery service be completely redundant? Why or why not?

Although each link guarantees that an IP datagram sent over the link will be received at the other end of the link without errors, it is not guaranteed that IP datagrams will arrive at the ultimate destination in the proper order. With IP, datagrams in the same TCP connection can take different routes in the network, and therefore arrive out of order. TCP is still needed to provide the receiving end of the application the byte stream in the correct order. Also, IP can lose packets due to routing loops or equipment failures.


2What are some of possible services that a link-layer protocol can offer to the network layer? Which of these link-layer services have corresponding services in IP? In TCP?

Framing: there is also framing in IP and TCP; link access; reliable delivery: there is also reliable delivery in TCP; flow control: there is also flow control in TCP; error detection: there is also error detection in IP and TCP; error correction; full duplex: TCP is also full duplex.


3Why would the token-ring protocol be inefficient if the LAN has a very large perimeter?

When a node transmits a frame, the node has to wait for the frame to propagate around the entire ring before the node can release the token. Thus, if L/R is small as compared to tprop, then the protocol will be inefficient.


4How big is the LAN address space? The IPv4 address space? The IPv6 address space?

248 MAC addresses; 232 IPv4 addresses; 2128 IPv6 addresses.


Chapter 6

1What does it mean for a wireless network to be operating in “infrastructure mode”? If the network is not in infrastructure mode, what mode of operation is it in, and what is the different between that mode of operation and infrastructure mode?

In infrastructure mode of operation, each wireless host is connected to the larger network via a base station (access point). If not operating in infrastructure mode, a network operates in ad-hoc mode. In ad-hoc mode, wireless hosts have no infrastructure with which to connect. In the absence of such infrastructure, the hosts themselves must provide for services such as routing, address assignment, DNS-like name translation, and more.

2What are the four type of wireless networks? Which of these types of wireless networks have you used?

a) Single hop, infrastructure-based

b) Single hop, infrastructure-less

c) Multi-hop, infrastructure-based

d) Multi-hop, infrastructure-less

3What is the difference between a permanent address and a care-of address? Who assigns a care-of address?

A permanent address for a mobile node is its IP address when it is at its home network. A care-of-address is the one its gets when it is visiting a foreign network. The COA is assigned by the foreign agent (which can be the edge router in the foreign network or the mobile node itself).

4What are the purposes of the HLR and VLR in GSM networks? What elements of mobile IP are similar to the HLR and VLR?

The home network in GSM maintains a database called the home location register (HLR), which contains the permanent cell phone number and subscriber profile information about each of its subscribers. The HLR also contains information about the current locations of these subscribers. The visited network maintains a database known as the visitor location register (VLR) that contains an entry for each mobile user that is currently in the portion of the network served by the VLR. VLR entries thus come and go as mobile users enter and leave the network.

The edge router in home network in mobile IP is similar to the HLR in GSM and the edge router in foreign network is similar to the VLR in GSM.

5In mobile IP, what effect will mobility have on end-to-end delays of datagram between the source and destination?

Because datagrams must be first forward to the home agent, and from there to the mobile, the delays will generally be longer than via direct routing.  Note that it is possible, however, that the direct delay from the correspondent to the mobile (i.e., if the datagram is not routed through the home agent) could actually be smaller than the sum of the delay from the correspondent to the home agent and from there to the mobile.  It would depend on the delays on these various path segments.  Note that indirect routing also adds a home agent processing (e.g., encapsulation) delay.


Chapter 7

1What is the difference between end-to-end delay and packet jitter? What are the causes of packet jitter?

End-to-end delay is the time it takes a packet to travel across the network from source to destination. Delay jitter is the fluctuation of end-to-end delay from packet to the next packet.

2What information is needed to dimension a network so that a given quality of service is achieved?

a)      Models of traffic demand between network end points

b)      Well-defined performance requirements

c)      Models to predict end-end performance for a given workload model, and techniques to find a minimal high cost bandwidth allocation that will result in all user requirements being met.

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