Data communication refers to the exchange of data between two devices via some form of transmission medium.
Data communication is said to be local if communicating devices are in the same building or a similarly restricted geographical area.
It is said to be remote if the devices are farther apart.
Components of Data Communication System
A Communication system has following components :
- Message : It is the information or data to be communicated. It can consist of text, numbers, pictures, sound or video or any combination of these.
- Sender : It is the device/computer that generates and sends that message.
- Receiver : It is the device or computer that receives the message. The location of receiver computer is generally different from the sender computer. The distance between sender and receiver depends upon the types of network used in between.
- Medium : It is the channel or physical path through which the message is carried from sender to the receiver. The medium can be wired like twisted pair wire, coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable or wireless like laser, radio waves, microwaves.
- Protocol : It is a set of rules that govern the communication between the devices. Both sender and receiver follow same protocols to communicate with each other.
Functions of a Protocol:
- Data sequencing. It refers to breaking a long message into smaller packets of fixed size. Data sequencing rules define the method of numbering packets to detect loss or duplication of packets, and to correctly identify packets, which belong to same message.
- Data routing. Data routing defines the most efficient path between the source and destination.
- Data formatting. Data formatting rules define which group of bits or characters within packet constitute data, control, addressing, or other information.
- Flow control. A communication protocol also prevents a fast sender from overwhelming a slow receiver. It ensures resource sharing and protection against traffic congestion by regulating the flow of data on communication lines.
- Error control. These rules are designed to detect errors in messages and to ensure transmission of correct messages. The most common method is to retransmit erroneous message block. In such a case, a block having error is discarded by the receiver and is retransmitted by the sender.
- Precedence and order of transmission. These rules ensure that all the nodes get a chance to use the communication lines and other resources of the network based on the priorities assigned to them.
- Connection establishment and termination. These rules define how connections are established, maintained and terminated when two nodes of a network want to communicate with each other.
- Data security. Providing data security and privacy is also built into most communication software packages. It prevents access of data by unauthorized users.
- Log information. Several communication software are designed to develop log information, which consists of all jobs and data communications tasks that have taken place. Such information may be used for charging the users of the network based on their usage of the network resources.