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Networks

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image CHAPTER OVERVIEW

Unit 4.1 Networks
Unit 4.2 Internet services
Unit 4.3 Internet connections

image By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Discuss a wide-area network.
  • Explain what the internet is.
  • Identify and explain various internet services.
  • Identify and explain government internet services.
  • Discuss the concepts of broadband and bandwidth.
  • Explain throttling and shaping.

INTRODUCTION

The internet is one of the largest, most powerful and entertaining inventions ever made by humans. It has brought us a wealth of information, it has enabled us to conduct business from our homes, it connects millions of people and it provides an endless source of entertainment. But how exactly does it work? In order to answer this question, we will be taking a look at the basis of the internet – i.e. the network.

In this chapter, we will look at a wide-area network (WAN), as well as the best-known wide-area network, the internet. We will discuss how to obtain an internet connection and give some examples of internet services. Finally, we will explain broadband and bandwidth, and how they are affected by throttling and shaping.

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Figure 4.1: A breakdown of internet usage every day

UNIT
 4.1   Networks

In previous years, you learned that a network is a series of independent computers that have been connected with either a physical, or a wireless connection. In Grade 10, you learned about home and personal area networks, and in Grade 11, you learned that a local area network (LAN) is a computer network that covers a small area, such as a house or office, and that the computers in the network share resources, such as internet connections, printers and server connections. The network is usually limited to a certain number of computers (between two and 25), but there is no absolute limit.

Networks are incredibly powerful tools that are used on a daily basis by businesses and private users. These uses include the following:

  • Sharing data and information
  • Sharing hardware
  • Storing information
  • Providing access to entertainment
  • Providing access to services
  • Connecting people

WIDE-AREA NETWORKS

A wide-area network (WAN) is a network that covers a large geographical area, such as a neighbourhood, a city, a country, or even the world.

A WAN connects two or more LANs. A typical use of WANs in business is where different branches of a business are connected to share resources. This can be done through the use of satellites or telecommunication networks. Unlike LANs, many WANs are not private; instead, they are organised by communities or businesses. The following table shows some of the advantages and disadvantages of a WAN.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO CONNECT TO A NETWORK

To create a wired network, you need the following three types of networking equipment:

1.A network adapter: This is a piece of hardware that can be added to a computer and makes it possible to connect to a network. These days, most computers and laptops have a network adapter built into their motherboards.

2.Network cables: These cables are used to connect a computer to a LAN, or to connect one network to another network. If you are connecting directly to the internet, you may require a specific cable for the type of internet connection you are using, for example a DSL-enabled phone cable, or a fibre-optic cable.

3.Hubs, switches or routers: These are devices that allow multiple computers to connect to the same network. They can also be used to connect two networks to each other.

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Something to know

Setting up a wired LAN versus a wireless LAN

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https://www.geeksonsite.com/faqs/how-to-setup-a-router/

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Figure 4.2: Setting up a wired connection

To create a wireless network, you only need two types of networking equipment:

1.Wireless network adapter

2.Wireless router or access point

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Something to know

In 2018, there were more than 23 billion devices connected to the internet. That is almost three internet-connected devices per person! By the year 2020, this number is expected to increase to 50 billion devices.

Much like a network adapter, a wireless network adapter is a device that you can purchase and connect to your computer to access wireless networks. Most notebooks and smartphones have built-in wireless network adapters, while most desktop computers do not.

As with a wired network, you can use a router with wireless capabilities to connect all your devices in the same network. The router can connect all your devices to the internet. If you do not need internet access, you could also use a wireless access point (WAP). A WAP is like a hub for wireless devices. It allows wireless devices to connect to each other in a local network, but does not connect the local network to the internet.

THE INTERNET AS AN EXAMPLE OF A WAN

The internet is a computer network that consists of billions of connected devices, allowing people to share information, obtain entertainment, or chat to one another.

HOW DOES THE INTERNET WORK?

The internet is a global network of networks. It is made up of many different networks, in different countries around the world that are all connected together into one huge WAN.

The following diagram shows how a user connects to the internet. Remember that the user can be a group of users in a network that connect to the ISP. There are also many different ISPs; each with their own network connected to the internet.

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Figure 4.3: How the internet works

When the ISP gives its user access to the ISP’s network, the users are connected to the internet. Users connect to their ISP via telephone lines, wirelessly, or through other standard networking methods. The information is transferred between computers using protocols. A protocol is a set of rules for the transmission of data between devices. Let’s take a look at some of the following common protocols:

  • File transfer protocol (FTP): Used to transfer and manipulate files on the internet
  • Hyper-text transfer protocol (HTTP): An Internet-based protocol for sending and receiving web pages
  • HTTP secure (HTTPS): Secure HTTP protocol; used mainly for e-commerce
  • Internet message access protocol (IMAP): Used for email messages on the internet
  • Post office protocol version 3 (POP3): Used by email clients to retrieve messages from remote servers
  • Simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP): Used for email messages on the internet
  • Email client protocol: is a standard method of exchanging information between email clients like Thunderbird or Apple Mail and email provider’s servers like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and vice versa
  • Voice over internet protocol (VoIP): Used to transmit voice data (phone calls) over the internet.

You will learn more about some of these protocols in the following unit where we will get to discuss internet services.

image Activity 4.1

1.Write down the correct answer for each of the following questions.

a.Which one of the following is NOT part of networking equipment?

A.Network cables

B.Network signaller

C.Hub

D.Router

b.An advantage of a WAN is that everyone on the network can access the same data and _______.

A.Videos and photos

B.Information

C.News

D.All of the above

c.A disadvantage of a WAN is that the setting up of it can be _______.

A.Difficult

B.Time consuming

C.Expensive

D.All of the above

2.Choose a term or concept from Column B that matches the description in Column A. Write only the letter next to the question number.

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3.Say if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE. Correct the underlined word(s) if they are false.

a.An extender is a piece of hardware that can be added to a computer and makes it possible to connect to a network.

b.The internet is the best-known LAN.

c.A WAN is a computer network that covers a small area.

d.To create a wireless network, you only need two types of networking equipment: a WAP and a wireless network adapter.

e.In modern computers, the network adapters are built into the motherboard.

4.Answer the following questions.

a.What is a WAP and why is it important in a wireless network?

b.In your own words, describe what the internet is and why it is important in modern society.

c.What role does an ISP play when connecting to the internet?

d.Large networks have changed the way in which we share and store information. Name three additional advantages of large networks.

e.If you are looking to create a home network, what equipment will be needed? Will this change when you want to connect the network to the internet?

f.What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a wireless network instead of a wired network when connecting to the internet?

g.Give an example of where HTTPS protocol is used and how it differs from HTTP.

UNIT
 4.2   Internet services

In the previous unit, you learned that you can access the internet via an ISP. Once you are connected to the internet, there is a range of services that you can use.

INTERNET SERVICES

Each type of internet service available is responsible for transferring a specific type of information. These services include the following:

  • Communication services
  • Information-retrieval services
  • Web services
  • World-wide web
  • Video conferencing

In the following sections, we will be taking a closer look at the some of these internet services, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

INSTANT MESSAGING

Instant messaging, sometimes referred to as IM, is a term used to describe online chat programs that allow the user to send real-time messages over the internet. This includes text messages, as well as multimedia messages, such as pictures, voice notes and videos. Short, instant messages usually occur between two parties. However, you do have the option to have a group discussion where multiple users can participate.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF INSTANT MESSAGING

Instant messaging has played a big role in shaping the way in which we communicate on a daily basis. This is because of the wide variety of uses that this method of communication offers. However, it is not without fault. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of instant messaging.

ADVANTAGES OF INSTANT MESSAGING
  • Allows you to chat in “real time” to other people who also have an IM client
  • Messages are delivered immediately after being sent, if the person is online or is connected to the internet
  • One can see when your message has been read
  • It connects people regardless of where they are located
  • People can speak to multiple people in virtual conference/groups, share ideas and reach conclusions.
DISADVANTAGES OF INSTANT MESSAGING
  • Because it is immediate, you have no time to reflect on the message you are sending, unlike an email where you can review the draft before sending it
  • Messages are not always saved
  • Instant messaging takes away the face to face, personal experience that people have when they are speaking to someone in person.
EXAMPLES OF INSTANT MESSAGING SERVICES

There are a few main instant messaging services that you most probably use on a daily basis. Let’s take a look at some examples of the most popular instant messenging services:

  • WhatsApp: This is a popular instant messaging service that is used on smartphones and computers
  • Facebook Messenger: This service is built into Facebook
  • iMessage: This is Apple’s built-in instant messaging service
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Figure 4.4: WhatsApp is a popular instant messaging service

VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP)

If you have ever been fortunate enough to travel overseas, you have most likely come to the realisation that phoning home is expensive. To alleviate this, internet companies have invented technologies that allow the user to make voice calls over the internet.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF VOIP

VoIP converts sound into data. The data is then transmitted over the internet to the recipient, where it is converted back to sound. Today, most online call services allow you to make video calls, enabling you to see the person (or people) to whom you are speaking. Since a large part of communication is non-verbal, being able to see a person’s body language and facial expressions, while speaking to them, can be very useful. This is especially useful in a video conferencing situation, where there are multiple people connected to the same video call. In such a situation, being able to see which person is speaking allows you to communicate significantly more clearly. On the next page are some of the other advantages and disadvantages of VoIP.

ADVANTAGES OF VOIP
  • Saves money on travelling to another country to attend a meeting.
  • Audio and video information can be shared.
  • Enables collaboration and can strengthen relationships between colleagues who work far away from each other.
  • VoIP is much cheaper than using traditional telephonic calls.
ADVANTAGES OF VOIP
  • It is expensive to set up and maintain.
  • You need to have an active internet connection.
  • Power failures will cause a break in communications.
EXAMPLES OF VOIP SERVICES

By now, you are most probably aware of the most-famous VoIP service, Skype. Skype has been around for more than a decade and since it is owned by Microsoft, it is integrated with Windows 10. Let’s take a look at the following examples of VoIP services:

  • Google Hangouts: This is a standard VoIP service provided by Google, which has recently been built into Android cellular devices.
  • WhatsApp: This instant messaging application allows the user to make both standard and video calls over the internet.
  • Discord: This application has become very popular for gamers, allowing them to talk to each other over the internet.
  • TeamSpeak: Like Discord, TeamSpeak is used mostly by gamers to talk to each other over the internet.
  • Skype is an example of a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software application used for voice, video and instant messaging communications.
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Figure 4.5: A Skype conference call

FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL (FTP)

FTP, is a standard network protocol that is used to transfer files between a computer and the network server (usually over the internet). It does this by setting the rules for the way in which files can be uploaded and downloaded. For example, it can require you to use a username and password to access files on the server.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FTP

No matter which business you are running, if you need to share large amounts of data internally, an FTP service might be the answer. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using FTP.

ADVANTAGES OF USING FTP
  • Easy to use (with the proper training)
  • Multiple file directories can be sent at the same time
  • File transfer progress is not lost if your connection fails
  • File transfers can be scheduled at times that are best suited to your needs
DISADVANTAGES OF USING FTP
  • Data, username and password are shared in plain text, which makes it easy for hackers to access information
  • Requires training to use FTP effectively
  • It is difficult to monitor mishandled data and track the source of the problem
  • Not all FTP services encrypt your data, which makes it vulnerable to attack
EXAMPLES OF FTP SERVICES

While FTP was used quite commonly in the past, it is now used mainly in technical situations (for example, when uploading new files to a web server). Let’s take a look at some of the examples of the most commonly used FTP servers:

  • FileZilla Server: This is an FTP server available to Windows users.

GRID COMPUTING AND CLOUD COMPUTING

As technology advances, so do our requirements. It is no longer sufficient, nor economical to use your own personal computer to analyse and store complex data. An alternative was clearly needed. This answer was obtained on the form of cloud-based and grid computing.

  • Grid computing is a computer model that has been connected to a network. It has the ability to process large volumes of data with the help of a group of networked computers that coordinate to solve a problem together.
  • Cloud computing is the use of hardware or software on a server on the internet. It allows users to use software or save data without worrying about using up storage space.

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GRID COMPUTING VS CLOUD COMPUTING

A Comparison You Wanted to See

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX89E8wQXQs

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF GRID AND CLOUD COMPUTING

Although cloud and grid computing offer huge benefits to users, they also have drawbacks. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of cloud and grid computing.

ADVANTAGES OF GRID COMPUTING
  • It can help you solve larger, much more complex problems in a much shorter time span
  • You do not have to buy more powerful hardware as you will make better use of existing hardware
  • If one computer fails, the other computers will take over the work, which makes the system very reliable
DISADVANTAGES OF GRID COMPUTING
  • Training is needed to make full use of grid computing
  • May require multiple people in order for the grid system to function
ADVANTAGES OF CLOUD COMPUTING
  • Since the cloud platform is managed and updated, it is much more reliable
  • It can be used from any device capable of connecting to the internet
DISADVANTAGES OF CLOUD COMPUTING
  • You may experience downtime if the cloud server is undergoing maintenance
  • Even though cloud computing uses security measures to protect your data, there is always a risk of files being compromised
  • You do not have full control over the platform as it is owned and managed by the service provider
EXAMPLES OF CLOUD AND GRID COMPUTING

Both cloud and grid computing help the user to distribute computing over a large area. Table 4.1 shows examples of the most commonly used cloud and grid computing software.

In the ideal grid computing system, every resource is shared, turning a computer network into a powerful supercomputer. With the right user interface, accessing a grid computing system would look no different than accessing a local machine’s resources. Every authorised computer would have access to enormous processing power and storage capacity.

  • World Community Grid: World Community Grid’s mission is to create the largest public computing grid benefiting humanity, which is funded and operated by IBM. Using the idle time of computers around the world, World Community Grid’s research projects have analysed aspects of the human genome, HIV, dengue, muscular dystrophy, and cancer.
  • Scientific research, helping scientists around the world to analyse and store massive amounts of data.
  • SKA (Square Kilometre Array): The SKA is a worldwide network of radio telescopes that will consist of over one million squares metres of collecting area. This will generate an enormous amount of data will be processed by an enormous computing grid consisting of more than half a million computing cores (processors) distributed around the globe and linked by a powerful network.

Table 4.1: Commonly used cloud and grid computing software

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Something to know

GIMPS (Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search): GIMPS was formed in January 1996 to discover new world-record-size Mersenne primes. GIMPS harnesses the power of thousands of small computers like yours to search for these “needles in a haystack”.

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Figure 4.6: Examples of cloud and grid computing software

CLOUD-BASED FILE SHARING

Since the advent of the internet, the technology industry has been steadily moving away from local storage to remote, server-based storage and processing—what is known as the cloud. We’ve rounded up the best cloud storage and file-sharing and file-syncing services to help you decide which are right for you.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FILE SHARING

Cloud-based file sharing allows the user to easily store and share files, documents, photos and videos on the internet. However, it also has its drawbacks. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using cloud-based file sharing.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF CLOUD-BASED FILE SHARING
  • It is very easy to use as you can just drag and drop files between your computer and the file-sharing service
  • It can save data and bandwidth, as you can share the file with multiple people instead of having to mail it to each of them
  • You can access the files with any device that is capable of connecting to the internet
  • It is very convenient as it reduces the time and effort it takes to share information with multiple people
DISADVANTAGES OF CLOUD-BASED FILE SHARING
  • The files might not be very secure as multiple people will have access to them
  • People might misplace or delete some files by mistake
  • You need an internet connection to access the files
  • Some services might require software to use, which will require you to download the software before being able to access the files
EXAMPLES OF CLOUD-BASED FILE SHARING

To use cloud-based file sharing, you will need to use a service provider. The service provider is responsible for providing you with a service that is highly available and provides backups and file recovery in a timely manner. To help make this decision easier, let’s look at some of the most commonly used cloud-based files-sharing services.

Table 4.2: Most commonly used cloud-based file-sharing services

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These services provide seamless access to all your important data—Word docs, PDFs, spreadsheets, photos, and any other digital assets—from wherever you are. You no longer need to be sitting at your work PC to see your work files. With cloud syncing you can get to them from your smartphone on the train, from your tablet on your couch, and from the laptop in your hotel room or kitchen. If you don’t yet have a service for storing and syncing your data in the cloud, you should seriously consider one. Which you choose depends on the kinds of files you store, how much security you need, whether you plan to collaborate with other people, and which devices you use to edit and access your files. It may also depend on your comfort level with computers in general. Some services are extremely user-friendly, while others offer advanced customisation for more experienced technophiles.

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UNDERSTANDING VIDEO STREAMING

STREAMING

Broadcast, cable and satellite television have been responsible for supplying news and entertainment to households for many years; however, this may be coming to end. With the advances made in the internet, a more diverse service has become available – i.e. streaming.

Streaming is a service that allows the user to view live events, series, movies and sporting events over the internet. This includes streaming to your smartphone, smart television or computer.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF STREAMING

Streaming has made it very easy to catch up on series, view sports and keep up to date with the news. But like all other entertainment services, it is not without a downside. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of streaming.

ADVANTAGES OF STREAMING
  • You are in control of what you watch and when you want to watch it
  • Streams can be paused, rewound and resumed as you please
  • It does not require you to have the shows on your computer and, therefore, saves storage space
DISADVANTAGES OF STREAMING
  • You need an active (fast) internet connection in order to stream
  • Streaming may use a lot of data
  • The luxury of streaming may result in health problems as it is easy to spend many uninterrupted hours watching series and shows
EXAMPLES OF STREAMING SERVICES

Over the past few years, streaming has become more popular and widespread. Let’s take a look at some of the examples of streaming services that you might find helpful:

  • Twitch: This is a streaming platform dedicated to gamers. Gaming tournaments and “Let’s Play” are some of the most popular streams on this platform.
  • Netflix: This is a platform dedicated to series and movies. Netflix has become very popular as it releases a whole season of a series at once, allowing the user to dedicate a block of time to binge watch the series.
  • Showmax: This platform was released in South Africa just before Netflix. Showmax allows you to stream some titles that are not available on Netflix, including Afrikaans movies and series.
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Figure 4.7: Twitch, the streaming platform for gamers

GOVERNMENT INTERNET SERVICES

Government institutions are known to have queues in which you could wait for hours. Thanks to the internet, many government institutions now have quick and easy solutions. Government internet services are internet services that allow users to skip queues by using government websites, from the comfort of their homes, to conduct business, pay bills and obtain information.

ADVANTAGES OF GOVERNMENT INTERNET SERVICES

More and more people are beginning to use government internet services as it saves them a lot of time and effort. This, however, is not the only advantage. Let’s take a look at some other examples of how government internet services can make your life easier.

PAYING YOUR TELEVISION LICENCE

You can pay your TV Licence online by using your credit card details, or online at your own banking website/banking app using the TV Licenses account details, or go to the EasyPay website for a virtual payment solution.

ELECTORAL INFORMATION

One of the advantages of living in a democratic country is that you are able to vote for the people you want to be in charge of your city and country. To do this, you need to know:

  • Who the people and parties running for office are
  • If you are registered to vote
  • Where you should go to cast your vote
  • What the results of the election were

This information and more can be obtained from the various government websites, which you can access through the internet. One such website is the “Elections” website (www.elections.org.za), which you can use to confirm if you are registered to vote.

SUBMITTING TAX RETURNS

Tax season is a stressful time of the year for every person involved, especially when you get to the SARS office and the queues are so long. Sometimes you need to return another day just to finish filing your taxes. Fortunately, SARS has come up with the solution of e-filing.

Electronic filing (commonly known as e-filing) gives users a free, simple and secure way to do tax returns from the comfort of their homes. It is available 24 hours a day and allows users to see their tax status, change their information and make any payments required. You can submit tax returns via e-filing on the SARS website (www.sarsefiling.gov.za).

SMART ID AND PASSPORT APPLICATIONS

Applications for Smart IDs and passports can be done online. This is done via the eHomeAffairs website. Instead of standing in long queues at Home Affairs Offices users can complete an online application, upload supporting documents, make payments and schedule a time to collect the documents from a Home Affairs enabled bank.

ONLINE TERTIARY APPLICATIONS

The Department of Higher Education and Training runs an online Central Applications Clearing House (CACH). This is open in January and February each year. Students who have not succeeded in finding a place at a tertiary institution can submit an online application via the CACH and they will be assisted to find a place at a tertiary institution.

image Activity 4.2

1.Write down the correct answer for each of the following questions.

a.Which one of the following is NOT an example of FTP services?

A.Pure FTPd

B.FileZilla Server

C.ProFTPd

D.FT protocol

b.Which one of the following is an example of instant messaging?

A.Wikipedia

B.Facebook

C.Telegram

D.YouTube

c.When you are in control of what you watch and when you want to watch it.

A.Cable

B.Broadcast

C.Streaming

D.Satellite television

2.Choose a term or concept from Column B that matches the description in Column A. Write only the letter next to the question number.

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3.Say if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE. Correct the underlined word(s) if they are false.

a.Netflix is more popular than M-Net.

b.Showmax is an example of a streaming service.

c.Electronic payments give users a free, simple and secure way to do their tax returns from home.

d.Instant messaging allows the user to make voice calls over the internet.

4.Answer the following questions.

a.What is the difference between cloud computing and grid computing?

b.Explain e-filing and give one advantage thereof.

c.Why would people want to use government internet services? Mention a government institution that uses the internet.

d.List four advantages, one disadvantage and three examples of instant messaging.

e.Give two examples of apps on a smartphone that use the following internet services:

i.VoIP

ii.FTP

iii.Cloud computing and grid computing

iv.Cloud-based file sharing

v.Streaming

UNIT
 4.3   Internet connections

Throughout this chapter, we have looked at some of the wonderful services that you can access through the internet. However, in order to access these services, you need an internet connection. In this section, we will be taking a look at how you can connect to the internet and which internet connection is best for your purpose. In South Africa, you need to pay an ISP, such as MWeb or WebAfrica, or a mobile network provider (MNP), such as Vodacom or MTN, a monthly fee in order to access the internet.

BROADBAND

In the early days of the internet, you had to use a modem that allowed you to connect to the internet through dial up. This type of connection had many drawbacks; it was slow, it required you to dial up each time you wanted to connect to the internet, and it would disconnect you when you used your phone. This all changed with the invention of broadband.

Broadband is a high data-rate connection that allows the user to send data over multiple channels. This makes the connection faster and more reliable than the old dial-up method. Examples of broadband include ADSL, 3G and fibre. It is important to note that not all broadband connections are available in all areas. When you decide on getting either a wired or a wireless connection, you should consider the coverage and availability of the various connections in your area. You can get this information from your service provider, or you can look at a network coverage map on a service provider’s website.

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Figure 4.8: The green indicates areas with internet coverage

WHAT TYPE OF INTERNET CONNECTION DO YOU NEED?

When choosing an internet connection, you need to consider the following four factors:

1.Speed of the internet

2.Data cap of your connection

3.Cost of the internet

4.Equipment you will need to connect to the internet

INTERNET SPEED OR BANDWIDTH

When choosing an internet connection one needs to look at the following:

  • Speed of the internet connection
  • Type of connection one can afford

Bandwith refers to the amount of data that can be transferred over a network in a specific time. Higher the bandwith the more data can be transferred in less the time. Downloading refers to the transfer of data from the internet to your computer. This includes downloading files, for example, videos, as well as browsing the internet. Uploading: refers to the transfer of data from a computer to the internet, for example, uploading a video to YouTube.

DATA CAPS AND BUNDLES

A data cap (bandwidth cap) is a service provider-imposed limit on the amount of data transferred by a user account at a specified level of through put over a given time period, for a specified fee. The term applies to both home Internet service and mobile data plans.

Data caps are usually imposed as a maximum allowed amount of data in a month for an agreed-upon charge. As a rule, when the user exceeds that limit, they are charged at a higher rate for further data use. However, the provider may not charge overage but instead throttle the users’ transfer rate per second beyond the limit. For example, a mobile user paying for a 4G plan may be downgraded to 3g for mobile data beyond their data cap.

An ISP might impose a data cap when a customer shares access with many users, employs file-sharing software or otherwise breaks terms of use. Service providers also sometimes impose data caps when they have a monopoly in a given area.

Data caps result in lower rates of access to online materials, especially multimedia and streaming content which is a problem for content creators and their advertisers. Data caps are also uniformly unpopular with customers. As a result, service providers often refer to data caps by other names such as fair usage or fair access policies, usage based billing or vaguely as band caps.

A data bundle gives access to the internet. To surf we use internet data which is measured in bytes – with data bundles it doesn’t matter how many minutes you stay connected, but rather how many bytes you use. It’s a cheaper yet a convenient way to connect to the internet. Whether you just want to surf or make downloads it’s still an ideal choice. It works more or less the same way we surf using airtime on our cell phones.

FAIR-USAGE POLICY

A fair-usage policy (FUP) (also called a reasonable-usage policy, or an acceptable-usage policy) is a data limit placed on “uncapped” internet accounts. According to this policy, your internet account will not be capped or limited unless you use too much data, in which case your internet access may be slowed (throttled) to the point where it is unusable. Many uncapped internet accounts have strict fair-usage policies that will catch unsuspecting users off guard.

INTERNET COSTS

The third thing to consider is the cost of the internet. Unfortunately, in South Africa, internet is still an expensive luxury item for most people. In general, a fast internet connection with a large data cap will be more expensive than a slow internet connection with a low data cap.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

The final thing to consider is what equipment you will need in order to connect to the internet. This includes four basic components:

1.Computer

2.Internet connection channel

3.Internet communication device

4.An ISP

WHAT IS THROTTLING?

Bandwidth throttling is a purposeful slowing of available bandwidth. In other words, and in general, it’s an intentional lowering of the “speed” that’s typically available over an internet connection. Bandwidth throttling can happen at various places between your device (like your computer or smartphone) and the website or service that you’re using over the internet.

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO THROTTLE BANDWIDTH?

You as the user of an internet connection or service rarely benefit from bandwidth throttling. Very simply, bandwidth throttling means limiting how fast you can access something when online. For example, an ISP might throttle bandwidth during certain times of the day to decrease congestion over their network, which lowers the amount of data they have to process at once, saving them the need to buy more and faster equipment to handle internet traffic at that level.

Another reason a service provider might throttle bandwidth is to provide a way for users to avoid the throttling by paying for a more expensive service that doesn’t limit bandwidth. In other words, the bandwidth throttling might just be an incentive to encourage heavy users to upgrade their plan.

WHAT IS SHAPING?

Traffic shaping is used for a number of purposes:

  • Time-sensitive data may be given priority over traffic that can be delayed briefly with little-to-no ill effect.
  • A large ISP (Internet service provider) may shape the traffic of an independent reseller.
  • In a corporate environment, business-related traffic may be given priority over other traffic.
  • An ISP may limit bandwidth consumption for certain applications to reduce costs and create the capacity to take on additional subscribers. This practice can effectively limit a subscriber’s “unlimited connection” and is often imposed without notification.
  • Traffic shaping could be an integral component of the proposed two-tiered Internet, in which certain customers or services would get traffic priority for a premium charge.

image Activity 4.3

1.Write down the correct answer for each of the following questions.

a.Which one of the following is NOT an ISP?

A.MWEB

B.M-Net

C.Afrihost

D.Webafrica

b.Which one of the following is NOT an example of broadband?

A.3G

B.ADSL

C.4K

D.Fibre

c.Which one of the following is NOT an option for fast internet users whose speed is more than 20 Mb/s?

A.56 k

B.VDSL

C.LTE

D.Fibre

2.Choose a term or concept from Column B that matches the description in Column A. Write only the letter next to the question number.

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3.Say if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE. Correct the underlined word(s) if they are false.

a.Everything you do on the internet affects data.

b.Axxess is not an ISP for fibre connections.

c.You need an ONT device if you want to use DSL internet.

d.Speed of internet is not important when choosing an internet connection.

e.High-quality videos use about 1 Tb/h of data.

4.Answer the following questions:

a.What is the difference between uploading and downloading?

b.What is broadband?

c.What is the difference between a shaped and an unshaped internet connection?

d.What four things must you consider when choosing an internet connection?

e.Explain the FUP.

REVISION ACTIVITY

QUESTION 1: MULTIPLE CHOICE

1.1.What type of network is the internet? (1)

A.LAN

B.PAN

C.WAN

D.WHAN

1.2.Which of the following protocols sends web pages? (1)

A.IMAP

B.HTTP

C.VoIP

D.IMAP

1.3.Which of the following is NOT a service provided by ISPs? (1)

A.Instant messaging

B.World-wide web

C.Skype

D.Broadband

1.4.Which of the following is an example of an FTP? (1)

A.FileZilla Server

B.Amazon Web Services

C.MediaFire

D.Twitch

1.5.Which of the following is an advantage of government internet services? (1)

A.You can pay your water bills online

B.You can communicate through video conferencing

C.You can stand in shorter queues at SARS

D.You can find out where to pay your TV licence

 [5]

QUESTION 2: TRUE OR FALSE

Indicate if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE. Correct the statement if it is false. Change the underlined word(s) to make the statement true.

2.1.HANs can can be public and private. (1)

2.2.A WAP can be used to create a wireless network. (1)

2.3.FTP is used to connect computers in a network. (1)

2.4.Google Drive is Google’s instant-messaging platform. (1)

2.5.4G connections are a new technology of broadband. (1)

 [5]

QUESTION 3: MATCHING ITEMS

Choose a term or concept from Column B that matches a description in Column A. (5)

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QUESTION 4: CATEGORISATION QUESTIONS

Look through the following advantages and disadvantages, and indicate to which internet service each belongs. (5)

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QUESTION 5: SCENARIO-BASED QUESTIONS

Your cousin is moving out of the house soon and has started investigating connectivity options. She is considering the following packages:

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5.1.What does the term uncapped for package 1 mean? (1)

5.2.Explain why you would never be throttled on package 2 or 3? (1)

5.3.What does it mean when your internet connection is shaped? (2)

5.4.Which one of these packages has the highest speed? (1)

5.5.Refer to package 2: What does out-of-bundle rates refer to? (1)

Nkosi has to hold Skype conferences for his company for the next month. Recently, the company has been having serious problems with big clients; therefore, an emergency meeting can occur at any time, which means he must make sure he is readily available.

5.6.What should Nkosi consider when buying an internet connection for the next month? (4)

5.7.What internet specifications do you think would be best for him in this situation? Give a suggestion for each factor. (4)

5.8.Compare the difference between capped data and uncapped data. (4)

5.9.Explain to him what the purpose of a WAP is. (2)

 [14]

TOTAL: [40]

AT THE END OF THE CHAPTER
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