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Lesson 1

Networking Technologies used in ecommerce

What is networking?

This module discusses how networking provides the pipes that carry the information for e-Commerce solutions. It involves technologies that enable physically separate computing devices to share information.
Most e-Commerce solutions are Web-based in terms of architecture. Therefore the most important networking elements for e-Commerce involve the hardware, protocols, and software that go into IP (Internet protocol) networks. That does not preclude involving other networks in e-Commerce solutions. Other networks may interface with IP-based networks through gateways[1] and other networking interfaces.

Network Implementation

The implementation of networking a computer system involves:
  1. Specialty hardware devices
  2. Physical wiring (as well as wireless)
  3. Network server and specialty hardware device embedded software

You can think of networking as all the technologies that go in between your computer and all other computers,enabling them to communicate. Technically, however, this definition is not 100 percent accurate. Even your computer runs networking protocols and often contains network hardware devices (like a modem or Ethernet card).


Within the context of e-Commerce, most solutions are delivered through networks using Internet protocols (IP). What is a protocol? A protocol is a set of rules and conventions, like a formal language, that determines how computers exchange information over a network medium (the wires). Later you will read about the Open Standard Interconnection (OSI) reference model, and discover that the OSI model provides a consistent framework for network architecture. A protocol is a specific implementation of a subset of the OSI reference model.

The following networking discussion is broken into six categories:
  1. LAN
  2. WAN
  3. The Internet and Virtual Private Networks
  4. Routers, Switchers, and Bridges
  5. Multicasting
  6. Other Networking Technologies

[1]Gateway: The combination of hardware and software that links two different types of networks.