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Discovering computer networks: hands on in the Open Networking Lab
Discovering computer networks: hands on in the Open Networking Lab

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Session 3: An introduction to switching

In the last session you looked at the IP addresses used by devices on a small home network. You have also briefly met MAC addresses – introduced in Session 1. In this and the next session you will look at how these two types of address are used and why both are necessary. You will do this by exploring two very important networking terms: switching and routing. Both of these terms are about getting data across networks from source to destination. You will look at the similarities and differences between them to understand why both are necessary.

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • understand what is meant by a port

  • understand why data is segmented into data units for delivery over a network

  • understand that switches are used to deliver data on a local area network and that they use MAC addresses to do this.