Module 1: Computer Networks

CMPS 161: Networking and Security


Computer networks are ubiquitous. It is easy to forget how recent this development is given the fact that ARPANET, the predecessor of the internet, was only conceived in the late sixties. In less than fifty years we have gone from practically zero connectivity (at least computer connectivity, phones have been around for longer) to a world where every phone, watch, tablet, and practically any other device can be connected to the internet. In this first module, we will look at the foundations of networks (the internet is simply a collection of many networks) and we will see what makes them tick. As we will see, just as with regular mail, addressing is a very important component of networks and we will what role MAC and IP addresses play.

Module Objectives

  • Explain the various LAN topologies
  • Define the functions of a networking protocol
  • Describe CSMA/CD for the Ethernet protocol
  • Describe the structure of the Ethernet packet frame
  • Define the function of the network interface card
  • Describe the purpose of the MAC address on a networking device
  • Discuss how to determine the MAC address for a computer
  • Discuss the fundamentals of IP addressing
  • Discuss the issues of configuring a home network
  • Discuss the issue of assembling an office LAN

Learning Resources

  • Module 1 Readings: Chapter 1
  • Module 1 Slides: Chapter 1

Learning Activities


Either at home or work (or another suitable location, if you prefer), try to identify as many parts of that computer network as you can that were covered in the readings for this module. For example, is it an Ethernet LAN network, wireless, or both? Can you find out what specific technologies are used? What is the network topology? Are there switches, hubs, and/or routers involved? What devices, MACs and IPs are being used on the network? Etc. Try to be as complete as possible. Summarize your findings in a diagram like Figure 1.33.

For Further Study

It is highly recommended to work through the exercises at the end of the chapter.

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