In the modern world we rely on the internet for much of our communications. We also use the internet for research and leisure; one very popular pursuit of that leisure is online gaming. Games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty have become hugely popular in all parts of the world. Not only can you play these games as a single or multi player in your own home, as was the case fifteen or twenty years ago, but now with the advances in networking technologies you can play against like-minded gamers from all parts of the world – or even just your friend a few miles away.
When you are playing a game against someone on the other end of the planet you may not think twice about it, but if you do think about the technology which makes this possible there is a lot to learn. Your gaming console or PC is connected to the larger outside network, or internet, through the access network. This is the part of the network that connects the individual to the telecommunications system.
It consists of a series of fiber optic and copper cabling along with a number of passive and active devices that is connected to the local exchange . The access network is a critical part of the network because it is the final piece of it that actually connects the end users. The local exchange is where information sent by your console or node is transferred onto a larger network and on to its desired destination A metro network (MAN, Metro Area Network) will be the next port of call for your game data’s journey.
This part of the network is responsible for carrying the information from the local exchanges of a provider to the regional and long haul/core networks. Metro networks are typically owned by an existing service provider or a consortium of providers and usually cover the area of a city. A regional network, or WAN (Wide Area Network), is responsible for carrying the information from local exchanges and MANs to points where it can be sent over multiple distances. The next part of the journey for your gaming data is the core, or long haul network.
This is responsible for transporting large amounts of data from the metro and regional networks in one geographical location over long distances to regional and metro networks in a location elsewhere in the country. These networks are not a single path of cable from one point to the next; rather they operate in mesh architecture so that there is always more than one route to a given destination. This is important in the case of a cable becoming damaged or severed.
Ocean networks are the most demanding and technically advanced networks today. This is what you will be relying on if you are playing someone in a different continent. There are a vast number of underwater optical cables connecting continents and countries together. Contrary to popular belief, data is not transmitted via a satellite when Trans ocean communications are required on the internet. Ocean networks are therefore the most expensive and it is typical that a consortium of providers will own these ocean cables.
All along the route of its journey through the copper or optical cables, the signal begins to deplete due to the distance travelled. At given intervals, dependent on the type of cabling it is on, repeaters are positioned. Repeaters are simply boosters which take the weakening data and boost it back up to its original strength ready for the next step of its journey. Gaming and social interactions via the internet have become hugely popular in the last decade, and we rely more and more on these networks to support our daily interactions with the outside world.
As the end users of this technology what we see, and the speed with which we see it delivered to us, is seamless. But there is a huge network behind our screens which allows this to happen. Data may only take microseconds to cross to another continent and back to you, which makes this technology fascinating if you just think about what is happening to allow you the experience you have at your fingertips. Works Cited Woodward, A. O. (2012). cabling: the complete guide to copper and fiber-optic networking. hoboken, NJ: Wiley custom learning solutions.
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