Outline the importance of standards in the construction of networks.


Teaching Note:

INT Standards enable compatibility through a common “language” internationally.


Sample Question:


JSR Notes:


Standards in General

First of all, what do we mean by standards? Standards, in general, are a set of guidelines and/or minimum requirements of just about anything. We at this school, generally expect a certain standard of behaviour from you the students, and you, in turn expect a certain standard of teaching quality from your teachers. It's always nice when a standard can be measured, and sticking with the school, this is what is being attempted with grading in a "standards based" way, which we have started with the ninth graders in 2013; their academic progress is judged based on achieving certain standards. For example, for my courses, one of my four standards is "Demonstrates collaboration & independence", and for a certain assignment, a student will get a 5 if they achieve this, a 6, if they go a bit beyond the expected degree of collaboration and independence, and a 7 if they are exceptional with regards to this standard. But this too, you may think is a bit subjective and hard to measure. And you would be correct. But when it comes to network standards, we're dealing with more measurable things, such as bits per second, width of cables, and frequencies for wifi broadcast.

In the world of I.T. there are lots and lots of examples of standards which help various hardware and software parts work together, communicate with each other, and generally interact. One good example is the PCI standard for expansion cards on computers. The PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) is a serial computer expansion bus standard which allows expansion cards for such things as sound cards, graphics cards to be plugged into any computer with PCI expansion slots. All following the PCI standard will both be able to fit perfectly, and communicate back and forth perfectly, since the way to do so is stipulated within the PCI standard.

Networking Standards

The first thing to note with this assessment statement is that there is another one (3.1.7) which relates to protocols, so this is likely much more geared toward the physical construction of networks, both hardware and software. Meantime, Protocols, as we'll see, are more the rules of how to use both the hardware and software parts of the network, though it is true that protocols themselves do lay down and stipulate standards.

Example in class of SATA hard drive standard connections; so any SATA compatible hard drive can connect to any SATA compatible computer - and it's primraily hardware standards asldjfasldkjflaskdjfajslkdf

So first of all, here, then, is a list of some of the hardware parts and software that are necessary to construct a network:

Networking Hardware for the Construction of Networks

Network Software for the Construction of Networks


The Importance of Standards in Networking


Standards in the construction of anything are important for (among many others) the following general reasons:

As you can see by the disparate examples, there are myriad standards we and the people/companies who serve us adhere to all the time.

The one major standards organization in the world is the ISO (International Standard Organization). From them come various kinds of certification which companies and organizations can gain, such as ISO 9000.


So each one of the hardware and software components listed above will have similar standards designed by international standards organizations. And the reasons for those are similar to the general reasons mentioned above. The reason standards are extra important for networks, arguably more than just about any realm of human endeavor is that networks, by definition, connect various and potentially widely distributed hardware and users. If a certain country, or even school were to have this or that set of standards, that's Ok, as long as those standards are only required for functioning within that country or school. We can have our own expected standard of behaviour in the senior lounge, but our predicted IB scores have to be according to world standard. A country can have its own standard for the quality of its drinking water, but it must adhere to international/regional standards for the quality of meat it exports to other countries.

Network standards, particularly for those things able to connect to the Internet, or function anywhere the world, must all adhere to international standards. Consider sending a file via the Internet to China. Eventually the data you are sending will reach China, and in the process, it will pass many other borders; the "data highway" must be structured the same way throughout the journey. Or consider moving to China and taking your computer with you. The network card in it, and the ports for connecting to you new school's network need to work the same way here and in China; the need to be standard.

So (taking a few more specific examples from the list above), a "cat 5" Ethernet cable, has to be exactly the same around the world; it has to be the same gauge (i.e. thickness) and made of the same material, and it needs to have an exact, standard connector at the end, with the same number of wires, designated to do the same thing. And the router that routes on your data (via your Internet Service Provider (ISP)) has to be able to work with data packets exactly the same way as the router routing on that data through Vienna, and Berlin, and London, and on to New York, and Springfield Missouri. The routers need to adhere to certain standards. And The firewall software you have on your computer here in the Czech Republic needs to be able to work the same way, here as it does anywhere else in the world; for that to be true, the protocols used in sending and receiving data have to be standard around the world.

In summary, then, network construction and functioning has to be standard all around the world if all the digital devices around the world are to be able to communicate, which is what networks are for in the first place.


JSR Notes - FORMER CURRICULUM - 6.4.2 Describe the features of communications needed for networking.

Check out page 342 of the textbook; there’s lots of good material to address this assessment statement.  And at this point, you’ll note that a lot of what preceded this page in the 6.4.2 section was more general stuff – but it can all help you address what the Teaching note above gets you to focus on.

So, there are basically 6 kinds of networking listed, and you need to be able to give advantages and disadvantages, and select the most suitable of them for a given situation.  I’ll let you come up with your own Adv. Disadv. chart, but here are some miscellaneous points that you may have missed.

- Ethernet transmits at what is referred to as 10 base-T, or 100 base-T or 1000 base-T.  But all these values really are is Mbits/sec.  So in the school lab, most of the computers are connected with 100 Mb connections, though as it so happens, 4 of them are bumped up to 1000 Mb connections (i.e. Gigabit connections).  And the backbone connections between the four groups of switches in the school’s LAN are all fiber-optic Gigabit connections.

- Ethernet cables have RJ-45 jacks that are bigger than their telephone RJ-11 jack cousins.  The contain “twisted-pair” wires, which are twisted for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it’s harder for them go kink up when the wires are twisted, and it cuts down on electro-magnetic interference.

- ISDN is an older technology than ADSL, but both use phone lines.  What makes ADSL able to have faster connections is that the A in ADSL stands for Asymmetric, and that means that the upload and download rates can indeed be asymmetrical, i.e. they don’t have to be the same.  So most Internet Service Providers will gear the download to be much faster than the upload, since downloading is more often what users want speed for.

- Not only is fiber optic expensive, but it is dangerous to work with.  But because it is light, and not electrical pulses going through it, it is much more secure; it cannot be “tapped” as other wires can be.

- And in terms of wireless, you should be equipped with your own latest tidbit of information on the latest wireless trend.

Meantime, when and where to use each of these?  Points to make or reinforce include the following.  For places that don’t have a lot of resources, financial or otherwise, using existing telephone lines will be slow, but that’s better than nothing.  And for dirt-poor regions without even reliable telephone systems, wireless is great since all you need are a few microwave towers installed, and your in business; this versus digging up or wiring up a full brand new conventional wired system.  Meantime, if you already have a certain wired system to begin with, why not take advantage of that. 

Basically, any cable that can carry electricity can carry digital data.  And for those businesses or indeed regions and countries the financial resources to do so, the highest capacity wires possible, even fiber optic for as much as the system as is possible, is the way to go, though you’ll note in these situations it is often “the last 10 meters” that ends up the bottleneck.