Industry standards - Ensuring communication standards are followed.

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Task 1 – Ensuring communication standards are followed

A standard is a definition or format that has been approved by a recognized standards organisation or is accepted as an expected standard by the industry. Standards exist for programming languages, operating systems, data formats, communication protocols, and electrical components.


There has always been a need for standardisation especially when it comes to connections of computers. With out standards computer software would not be able to communicate with the hardware let alone one computer communicating with another. Essentially we would not be able to compute

There are two main different types of standards:

  • Standards imposed by law
  • Standards representing public demand (Industry standards)

Standards that allow progress to be achieved

Certain standards are an extremely important part of choosing building and configuring any computer network especially a state of the art one! Some of the reasons why certain standards are not only important but critical to the Design and implementation of the new C&T block are:

  • To create an efficient network
  • To protect consumers
  • To enable compatibility with new technologies

Standards to create an efficient network

One of the primary reasons for ensuring certain standards are followed is to create an efficient network. For example there is an organisation called the IEEE (Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) which have created LAN (Local are Network) standards such as:

IEEE 802.1- Standards related to network management

IEEE 802.2- General standard for the data link layer in the OSI Reference Model

IEEE 802.3- Defines the MAC layer for bus networks that use CSMA/CD

With out using products that adhere to these standards the network would be destined to run into major problems with out much back up.

Standards protect consumers

To protect consumers-making sure that there are universal standards

Without standards the consumer would be very limited and open to abuse.

Standards to allow compatibility with new technologies

Various standards allow a combination of products from different manufacturers to create a customised system. Without standards, only hardware and software from the same vendor could be used together.

One Organisation called the “International Standards Organisation” (ISO) has created a reference model called the OSI model. This reference model is a great aid for educating people on the way computers communicate with each other.

The OSI reference model

The OSI reference model was introduced by the ISO in 1984 to facilitate multi vendor equipment interoperability, in other words to make sure products of different vendors would interoperate (work together) in networks. This way of creating compatibility also has helped provide developers of software and hardware with guidelines. The OSI model breaks up into seven layers:

The seven layers of the OSI model


What are Protocols?

Protocol derives from the Greek protocollon, which was a leaf of paper glued to a manuscript volume, describing its contents.  An example of a protocol is when photographic film where new technology and every manufacturer labelled them using a speed number. Manufacturers created them for different use and labelled them with speed ratings of 50, 100 and 200 speed. The problem with this system was that each manufacturer determined what this speeds where. As long as you used the film from the same manufacturer,, you could expect consistent results.  When you switched brands however, the quality of your photos was not always assured.  To protect consumers the ISO established a standard for film speeds.  Now on film boxes the world over, one will find an ISO label.  While film quality still varies by manufacturer, consumers now can be assured that two films labelled ISO100 will truly be 100 speed films.

Protocols in communication technology

In communication (information) technology a protocol is a special set of rules that make communication much more efficient. In fact with out them we would not be able to access information no where near the speeds we do! Protocols exist at several levels in a telecommunication connection. There are hardware telephone protocols. There are protocols between each of several functional layers and the corresponding layers at the other end of a communication. Both end points must recognise and observe a protocol. Protocols are often described in an industry or international standard.

The three main sets of protocols are:

  1. TCP/IP
  2. IPX/SPX
  3. Net Beui

There is a great deal of detail and effort involved in the development of every protocol.  However networking or, most networks today are moving towards TCP/IP. Protocols are always being updated so keeping current is difficult. 



The Defence Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) originally developed Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to interconnect various defence department computer networks. The Internet (an international Wide Area Network) uses TCP/IP to connect government and educational institutions across the world. TCP/IP is also commonly used in commercial and private networks.


Internet Protocol Exchange (IPX) is Novell’s implementation of the Xerox Internet Datagram Protocol (IDP). IPX is a connectionless datagram protocol that delivers packets across the Internet and provides NetWare (Novell’s network Operating system) workstations and file servers with addressing and internetworking routing services.
The Sequential Packet Exchange (SPX), is Novell’s version of the Xerox Sequenced Packet Protocol (SPP). It is a transport layer protocol providing a packet delivery service for third party applications.


Netbeui is short for NetBios Enhanced User Interface. It is an enhanced version of the NetBIOS protocol used by network operating systems such as LAN Manager, LAN Server, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95 and Windows NT.
Netbeui was originally designed by IBM for their LAN Manager server and later extended by Microsoft and Novell.

With the help of standards, computers have increased in number and in the number of ways they are used. A number of standards have strongly affected the computer industry, including some that were developed well before computers hit the mass market. The important computer standards include:

  • The ASCII (standard for data interchange)
  • The COBOL (programming language)
  • The RS-232 (serial port standard)
  • LAN Standards
  • CD-ROM

The successful computer standards have used technology to meet business needs without hindering innovation and competition. Good standards represent solutions to problems and do not limit the way people use products.

Task 2 – The Presentation and its Data compression responsibility

One of the key functions of a computer is being able to store Information. It does this amazing fete by a number system we know as Binary (1 to represent true and 2 to represent false). This was the discovery of a man called Claude Shannon back in the 1930’s. This insight was part of his master’s thesis. Binary was born and remains the alphabet of electronic computers. This numbering system enables us to represent anything from simple text to large image files or even moving pictures such as MPEGs (a file format for movies). If you can imagine each letter in the alphabet being represented by a series of 1’s and 0’s you can begin to imagine how much space a small amount of text could take up, but nothing could prepare you for the amount of bit’s an image file might take up or even an audio file (let alone a movie containing both an abundance of image and audio files). There are various types of information such as:

  • Text
  • Audio
  • Image
  • Movies

The way this information is represented is known as the data format some examples of these formats are:

  • ASCII, EBCDIC – for text files
  • WAV, MP3 – for audio files
  • GIF, TIFF, JPEG – for images files
  • MPEG, QuickTime – for movie files

Being able to convert everything into digital representation (Binary) is an important part of computing; however even with the disc technology we have today we would have problems storing all this converted data. Not to mention the number of bits building up to quickly and overflowing the computers memory! This is why a computers ability to compress data, store or transmit it and then expand it back to it’s original form (so we can read, listen look at or even watch the file/data) is so important this is the responsibility of the Presentation layer (OSI layer 6).

The Presentation layer (of the OSI model) provides three main functions. One of these main functions is:

  • Data compression

Data compression is particularly useful in communications because it enables devices to transmit the same amount of data in fewer bits!

How does data compression work?

Data compression works by using algorithms (complex mathematical formulas) to shrink the size of the files. The algorithm searches each file (represented in bits) for repeating bit patterns, and then replaces them with a token. A token is a much shorter bit pattern that represents the long pattern. One example of this would be in a movie where you would have 25 frames in a second but the majority of each will hardly change (especially to the naked eye- one second would seem like a blink) so much of this information would be classed as redundant and would be represented with significantly smaller bit patterns as a result.

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There is a variety of data compression techniques, but only a few have been standardised. The CCIT (Comite Consultatif International Telephonique et Telegraphique), an organization that sets international communications standards. CCITT, now known as ITU (the parent organisation) has defined many important standards for data communications, including the following:

Group 3 and 4 – for sending fax documents over the Internet

V.21 - The standard for full-duplex communication at 300 baud in Japan and Europe

V.22 - The standard for half-duplex communication at 1,200 bps in Japan and Europe.

In addition there are file compression formats such as:

  • ZIP ...

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