TUCoPS :: Phreaking Technical System Info :: edata.txt

Electronic Data Communication

-->]OO[::::[ Electronic Data Communication ]::[OO---------[ zomba ]----------
-->]OO[:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::[ z0mba@hotmail.com ]----------
-->[OO]:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::[ members.xoom.com/phuk ]::::::

         --oOo--> Covered in this Article: ]------------------------
         --oOo--> --------------------------------------------------

         --oOo--> Introduction                                  ]---
         --OoO--> ==========================================    ]---
         --oOo--> --> Communications Links                      ]---
         --oOo--> --> Communications Media                      ]---
         --oOo--> --> Modems                                    ]---
         --oOo--> --> Multiplexors                              ]---
         --oOo--> COMMUNICATION METHODS                         ]---
         --oOo--> =====================                         ]---
         --oOo--> --> Simplex/duplex Transmission               ]---
         --oOo--> --> Synchronous and Asynchronous Transmission ]---
         --oOo--> --> Data transfer checks                      ]---
         --oOo--> --> Circuit Switching                         ]---
         --oOo--> --> Packet Switching                          ]---
         --oOo--> --> Advantages of Packet Switching            ]---
         --oOo--> --> Data Compression                          ]---
         --oOo--> --> Data Encryption                           ]---
         --oOo--> --> The TCP/IP Protocol                       ]---
         --oOo--> --> The ISO OSI seven-layer Model             ]---
         --oOo--> --> Bridges and Gateways/Routers              ]---


This article is meant to give you, the ereet public, a brief insight into how
data communications werk. The parts on TCP/IP and the ISO OSI seven-layer
model were origionally part of a file I was writing for ETG (now defunct) but
I thought they were relevant to this article and so have included them. If
you have been using the net for a while then the OSI model will be instantly
recognisable even if you've never seen it before as it is basically just how
the internet protocols werk and their ports etc (ie: Telnet, port 23). A lot
of this article was taken from other sources as they explained better than I
ever could :)


Data communication involves sending and receiving data from one computer or
data processing device to another. Applications using for example e-mail,
supermarket EPOS (Electronic Point-Of-Sale) terminals, cash dispensers, fax
machines and video conferencing are all examples of this.

When the devices are close together, for example in the same building, they
can be linked by means of cables. However, when devices are seperated by more
than a few hundred yards, data has to be sent over a communications link (eg.
tele- phone line) and extra equipment such as a modem is required.

Communications Links

In the UK, BT, Mercury and other telcos provide services and data links. 
Telephone line may be either:

       --> public lines, on which the cost of sending data depends on the
           length of time taken;
       --> private or leased lines, for whiche there is a fixed annual fee
           and line can be used 24/7 with no extra cost.

Communications Media

Communication may take place over a combination of different media.

  --> twisted pair (copper cable), used in much of the PSTN;
  --> coaxial cable - high quality, well-insulated cable that can transmit
      data at higher speeds;
  --> fibre optic cable through which pulses of light, rather than electricity,
      are sent in digital form;
  --> communications satallite, using one of the hundreds of satellites now
      in geosynchronous orbit about 22,000 miles above the Earth (for all you
      l4m3rs, geosynchronous means that they are rotating at the same speed as
      the Earth and are therefore stationary relative to it);
  --> microwave - similar to radio waves. Microwave stations cannot be much 
      more than 30 miles apart because of the Earths curvature as microwaves
      travel in straight lines.

The amount of data that can be sent over the line depends partly on the 
bandwidth, which is the range of frequencies that the line can carry. The
greater the bandwidth, the greater the rate at which data can be sent, as
several messages can be transmitted simultaneously.

A network that is capable of sending voice, video and computer data is called
an 'integrated services digital network' (ISDN), and this requires a high


Telephone lines were origionally designed for speech, which is transmitted in
analogue or wave form. In order for digital data to be sent over a telephone
line, it must first be converted to analogue form and then converted back to
digital at the other end. This is achieved by means of a modem (MOdulator
DEModulator) at either end of the line.

          Digital Signal                                  Digital Signal
             \                                                   /
              \                  Analogue Signal                /


A multiplexor combines more than one input signal into a stream of data that
can be transmitted over a single communications channel. This means, for
example, that a local area network of 48 PC's could all communicate with a
mainframe at some geographically remote head office via a single leased line
attached to a multiplexor. At the mainframe end, there is likely to be a
front-end processor which will handle the communications, leaving the main
processor free for other tasks.

         \                                                          ___   Mini
          \                                                        /    mainframe
Computer---Multiplexor---Modem------------------Modem---Multiplexor----   -or-
          /                                                        \___ front-end
         /                                                              processor


Simplex, half-duplex and full-duplex transmission

There are three possible modes of transmission:

  --> Simplex - transmission can take place only in one direction. This type
                of transmission could be used for example when the sending
                device such as a temperature sensor never requires a response
                from the computer.

  --> Half-duplex - transmission can take place in both directions but not
                    simultaneously. This type of transmission is often used
                    between a central computer and terminals.

  --> Full-duplex - transmission can take place in both directions
                    simultaneously. It is suitable for interactive computer

Synchronous and Asynchronous transmission

With asynchronous transmission, one character at a time is sent, with each
character being preceded by a start bit and followed by a stop bit. A parity
bit is also usually included as a check against incorrect transmission. This
type of transmission is usually used by PC's, and is fast and economical for
relatively small amounts of data.

In Synchronous transmission mode, timing signals (usually the computers
internal clock) control the rate of transmission and there is no need for
start and stop bits to accompany each character. Mainframe computers usually
use synchronous transmission. It is less error-prone than asynchronous

Data Transfer Checks

The following checks may be made during data transmission:

 --> parity checks - an extra bit is transmitted with each character to make
                     the number of bits set to 1 even (for even parity) or
                     odd for (odd parity).

 --> checksum - may be sent with each block of data transmitted. All the
                elements in the block (eg: words or bytes) are added together
                (ignoring overflow) to produce a single element known as the
                checksum, and this is stored and transmitted with the block,
                and checked on receipt.

Circuit Switching

An excellent example of circuit switching is the public telephone system
which uses circuit- switched paths. When a caller dials a number, the path
between the two telephones is set up by operating switches in all of the
exchanges involved in the path, and the circuit is set up and held for the
entire duration of the call (even through periods of silence). This allows
the two people on the phone ('leeto phreaks!)to hold a conversation with no
waiting at either end.

                   \                      \         / 
                    \                      \       /
  ph0ne____________Local Exchange--------Trunk Exchange                /
                     /                         |     \                /
                    /                          |      \              /
  ph0ne____________/                           |       \__Trunk Exchange----
                                               |               /
                                              /      _________/
                                             /      /
                                      Trunk Exchange                 ph0ne
       ph0ne_______        ___________/          \__________          /
                   \      /                                 \        /
                   Local Exchange                      Local Exchange
                  /    |      \                                   \
                 /     |       \                                   \ph0ne
              ph0ne    ph0ne    \__ph0ne

Packet Switching

In a packet switching system (PSS) data is divided into packets - fixed
length blocks of data say 128 bytes. As well as the data, each packet also

  --> the source and destination address;
  --> a packet sequence number so that the whole message can be correctly
  --> a checksum (longitudinal parity check) for the purpose of error checking.

The PSS takes the form of a computer network in which each computer redirects
packets it receives to the next computer along an appropriate route to its

Advantages of packet switching

  --> More efficient use of lines is possible.
  --> Cost depends only on the number of packets sent not on distance, so all
      data is transmitted at local call rates.
  --> It is less likely to be affected by network failure because of the 
      multiple routes available to transmit data packets.
  --> Security is better; data is less likely to be intercepted because the
      packets may be sent along different routes or be interleaved with the
      other unrelated packets.

Data Compression

Data compression is frequently used when transmitting large quantities of
data, thereby reducing the number of blocks transmitted and hence the cost.
It basically works by replacing repeated blocks by one copy of the byte plus
a count of the repetitions.

Data Encryption

Data encryption is used for security purposes when transmitting or storing
confidential data. The data to be transmitted is encoded using a mathematical
algorithm or substitution of letters, so that even if it is intercepted it 
cannot be read.

w0rd to the                     OfKIZk\$5zG                    w0rd to the
darkcyde    ---> ENCRYPTION --> OPbNd5%6&#S --> DECRYPTION --> darkcyde
collective                      WeDgNC$1GG8                   collective

Plaintext                       Ciphertext                     Plaintext

The TCP/IP Protocol

Basically, TCP/IP is a set of protocols developed around the ARPAnet (where
the internet began - just in case you didn't know!) which allows co-operating 
computers to share resources across a network. The most accurate name for
this set of protocols is the 'Internet Protocol Suite' - TCP and IP are just
two of the protocols in this suite. Due to the fact that TCP and IP are the
best known of all the protocols, they have been joined to create the most
common term - TCP/IP.

TCP/IP protocols map to a four layered conceptual model: Applications,
Transport, Internet, and Network Interface. Each layer on the TCP/IP model
corresponds to one or more layers on the International Standards Organisation
(ISO) seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model which I will go
into more detail on later in the file. Below I have attempted to draw a
diagram to shows this.

                   OSI Model                        TCP/IP Model

                |--------------|                |-----------------|
                | Application  |                |                 |
                |--------------|                |                 |
                | Presentation |                |   Application   |
                |--------------|                |                 |
                |   Session    |                |                 |
                |--------------|                |-----------------|
                |  Transport   |                |    Transport    |
                |--------------|                |-----------------|
                |   Network    |                |     Internet    |
                |--------------|                |-----------------|
                |  Data-link   |                |                 |
                |--------------|                |Network Interface|
                |  Physical    |                |                 |
                |--------------|                |-----------------|

Defined within the four layers of TCP/IP are protocols that dictate how
computers connect and communicate. The most common of these are Transmission
Control Protocol (TCP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Internet Protocol (IP),
Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), and Internet Control Message Protocol

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

This is the most common higher-level protocol in the suite. TCP guarantees
the delivery of packets, ensures proper sequencing of data, and provides a
checksum feature that validates both the packet header and its data for
accuracy. If the network either corrupts or loses a TCP packet during
transmission, TCP is responsible for re-transmitting the faulty packet. This
level of reliability makes TCP the protocol of choice for session-based data
transmission, client- server applications, and critical services such as

This reliability however has its downfalls - TCP headers require additional
bits to provide proper sequencing of information, as well as a mandatory
checksum to ensure reliabilty of both the TCP packet header and the packet
data. To guarantee successful data delivery, the protocol also requires that
the recipient acknowledge successful receipt of data.

Such acknowledgements (ACK's) generate additional network traffic, thus
diminishing the rate at which data passes. To reduce the impact on
performance, most hosts send an acknowledgement for every other segment or
when a specified time interval has passed.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

If reliability is not totally essential then UDP, a TCP compliment, offers a
connectionless datagram service that guarantees neither delivery nor correct 
sequencing of delivered packets (much like IP). Higher-level protocols or 
applications might provide reliability mechanisms in addition to UDP/IP. UDP
data checksums are optional, providing a way to exchange data over highly
reliable networks without unnecessarily consuming network resources or
processing time. When UDP checksums are used, they validate both the
integrity of the header and the data. ACKs are not enforced by the UDP
protocol, this is left to higher-level protocols. UDP also supports sending
data from a single sender to multiple receivers.

Internet Protocol (IP)

IP provides packet delivery for all other protocols within the suite. It
provides a best-effort, connectionless delivery system for computer data.
They are not guaranteed to be delivered nor received in the order they are
sent as the protocols checksum feature only confirms the headers integrity.
The responsibitly of the data contained in the IP packets are only insured by
using higher-level protocols

Address Resolution Protocol (ARP)

ARP is not directly related to data transport but is very important
nonetheless. ARP is one of the maintenance protocols that supports the TCP/IP
suite and is usually invisible to users and applications.

If two systems are to communicate over a TCP/IP network, the system sending
tha packet must map the IP address of the final destination to the physical
address of the final destination. IP acquires this physical address by
broadcasting a special inquiry packet (an ARP request packet) containing the
IP address of the destination system. All ARP-enabled systems on the local IP
network detect these broadcast messages, and the system that owns the IP
address in question replies by sending its physical address to the requester
(in an ARP reply packet). The physical/IP address is then stored in the ARP
cache of the requesting system for subsequent use.

Because the ARP reply can also be broadcast to the network, other systems on
the network can use this information to update their own ARP caches. (you can
use the 'arp' utility to view the ARP tables)

Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP)

ICMP is another of the maintenance protocols. It allows two systems on an IP
network to share status and error info. This information is often used by
network admins to detect network trouble or recover from transmission
problems. ICMP packets are stored within IP packets and are not really
considered to be a higher-level protocol.

The 'ping' utility uses the ICMP echo request and echo reply packets to
determine whether a particular IP system on a network is functional. Because
of this, the ping utility is useful for diagnosing IP networks or router

The ISO OSI seven-layer Model

The seven layers of the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model are shown in
my diagram below. The reason for the model was to try and introduce some
standardisation into the protocols of network communication.

| Application |Presentation| Session  | Transport  | Network  | Data Link | Physical  |
|   Email     |  POP/SMTP  |  POP/25  |            |          |           |RS-X, CAT 1|
|-------------|------------|----------|            |          |           |-----------|
| Newsgroups  |   Usenet   |   532    |            |          |           |   ISDN    |
|-------------|------------|----------|            |          | SLIP, PPP |-----------|
|    Web      |    HTTP    |    80    |            |          |           |   ADSL    |
|Applications |            |          |            |          |           |           |
|-------------|------------|----------|Transmission| Internet |           |-----------|
|File Transfer|     FTP    |   20/21  |  Control   | Protocol |           |   ATM     |
|-------------|------------|----------|  Protocol  | Version 6|-----------|-----------|
|Host Sessions|   Telnet   |    23    |            |          |                       |
|-------------|------------|----------|            |          |-----------|-----------|
|  Directory  |     DNS    |    53    |------------|----------|           |   FDDI    |
|  Services   |            |          |            |          |802.2 SNAP |-----------|
|-------------|------------|----------|            |          |           |  CAT 1-5  |
| Network Mgt.|    SNMP    | 161/162  |    User    | Internet |-----------|-----------|
|-------------|------------|----------|  Datagram  | Protocol |           |  Coaxial  |
|File Services|     NFS    |   RPC    |  Protocol  | Version 4|Ethernet II|   Cable   |
|             |            |Portmapper|            |          |           |           |

By looking at the model in this way you will probably find that you are
familier with the concept even if you have never seen it before as most pople
know at the very least things like port 80 is for HTTP and 23 for Telnet etc.

The OSI model was introduced to describe how messages should be transmitted
between two computers on a network so that product implementors could produce
products that would consistently work with each other. The idea is that
messages are only transmitted in the physical layer, if the message is
received by a host that is not the target then it will not proceed up the
layers, it will just be passed on. The top four layers (4,5,6,7) are known as
the 'upper layers' and the bottom three layers (1,2,3) are known as the
'lower layers'. The upper layers are used whenever a message passes from or
to a user. The lower layers are used whenever a message passes through a host

Layer 7: Application Layer

This is the layer at which communication partners are identified, quality iof
service is identified, user authenticity and privacy are considered, and any
constraints on data syntax are identified. They are /not/ the actual
applications themselves, but having said that, some applications perform
application layer functions.

Layer 6: Presentation Layer

This layer is usually a part of the operating system. It converts incoming
and outgoing data from one presentation format to another ie. ASCII to
EBCDIC. It is sometimes called the syntax layer. It also handles encryption
and compression of data.

Layer 5: Session Layer

This layer basically sets up, co-ordinates and terminates conversations,
exchanges and dialogs between the application at each end. It deals with
session and connection co-ordination. It allows application processes to
register unique addresses, such as NetBIOS names. It also has some other
support functions inclusing user authentication and resource-access security.

Layer 4: Transport Layer

This layer manages the end-to-end control ie: determining whether all packets
have arrived. It also deals with error checking to ensure complete data

Layer 3: Network Layer

This layer handles the routing of the data ie: sending it in the right
direction to the right destination on outgoing transmissions and receiving
incoming transmissions at the packet level. It basically deals with routing
and forwarding. It control subnet traffic to allow intermediate systems to
instruct a sending station not to transmit its frame when the router's buffer
is full. If the router is busy, the network layer can instruct the sending
station to use an alternate router.

Layer 2: Data Link Layer

This layer provides error control and synchronisation for the physical level
and does bit-stuffing for strings of 1's in excess of 5. It furnishes
'transmission protocol' knowledge and management. It establishes and
terminates a logical link (virtual-circuit connection) between two computers
identified by their unique network interface card (NIC) addresses.

Layer 1: Physical Layer

This layer conveys the bit-stream through the network at the electrical and 
mechanical level. It provides the hardware means of sending and receiving
data on a carrier. Data-encoding modefies the digital-signal pattern (1s and
0s) used by the computer to better accommodate the characteristics of the
physical medium and to assist in bit and frame synchronisation. Data-encoding
resolves which signal pattern represents a binary 1, how the receiving
station recognises when a 'bit-time' starts and how the receiving station
delimits a frame.

Bridges and Gateways/Routers

A bridge is a connection between two local area networks. Wide area networks
may be connected throught a system of routers/gateways, a gateway being a
computer which acts as a point of connection between different networks.

Shouts and Greetz

The usual peeps:

Werd to the darkcyde collective, extra shouts to hybrid, bodie and force.
Also greetz to [JaSuN], darkflame, xio, PUBLiC NUiSANCE, shadow, gossi, elf,
downtime, kryptus. L8r.

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