There is a long list of terms that networking specialists deal with every time they look at a network topology or set up a router. Bypassing the simpler terms like ‘IP Address’ and ‘TCP/IP’, this article looks to tackle the more important terms that the average user would not be aware of. These terms are in no particular order.
MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) – This relatively new protocol enables High Performance networks to direct packets with labels to other parts of their network. For example, if a Telecom network has several routers or servers at different peering points, they can use MPLS to securely and quickly deliver information form one node to the other. It uses a label switching method to tag packets and these labels can only be read or removed by other nodes that can do MPLS.
ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) – This protocol is very simple. It uses the IP Address of a given computer or node to find the MAC Address of that node. Within the packets that are sent by a computer lies the MAC Address of that computer. ARP utilizes this and is able to tell you what the MAC Address of the given computer is.
ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) – ICMP is a protocol used for sending small ‘ping’ packets across networks. If you want to see if a node or computer is receiving IP packets, you can send an ICMP packet to that computer. If you get another ICMP packet back from that computer, then it is online. Also, some ISP’s uses ICMP to send Error messages.
QoS (Quality of Service) – QoS is a way of tagging IP Packets that are sourced from a certain computer to have a high priority in a network. This means that if you want computer A to have faster access and more reliable access to your server over computer B, you can tag all of computer A’s IP Packets to have a higher rate of priority. When there is a large amount of traffic over a given line, then this computers bandwidth will be transmitted before the Computer B’s.
V-LAN (Virtual Local Area Network) – If you have ever setup a small office or home, you know what a LAN is. A LAN is a connection between multiple computers in a small area such as a home or office. All of the computers on a LAN have a node (Router, Switch, or Hub) that they run through together. This leads to security issues on that LAN. Using V-LAN or V-LAN Tagging, a network administrator can set up virtual LANs off of the same node. This provided virtually separate LANs and provides a more secure network.