What is a VLAN?

Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) are a logical grouping of network users and resources connected to defined ports on the switch. A VLAN looks like, and is treated like, its own subnet. By using virtual LANs, you're no longer confirmed to physical locations. A VLAN can be created by location, function, and department regardless of where the resources or users are located.

What is Spanning-Tree Protocol 802.1d?

Spanning Tree Protocol was developed to prevent routing loops in a network. If a router, bridge, or switch has more than one path to the same destination, a routing problem could occur. STP achieves this by running the Spanning Tree algorithm, detecting the presence of multiple physical paths and logically disabling (blocking-stand by mode) one ore more of the redundant links. This guarantees that only one path between network devices will be active at given time. STP uses BPDU (Bridge Protocol Data Units), which are special multicast frames that are broadcast out by all the switches on the network. These frames contain all the of the vital topology information about each sender that is needed by the switch to maintain the Spanning Tree

What is the difference between MAC-based VLAN and 802.1Q VLAN?

There are two major differences between MAC-based and 802.1Q VLAN:

The first point of difference is that a MAC-based VLAN is configured using MAC address, but 802.1Q VLAN uses assigned tag address to distinguish VLAN information.

The second difference is that a MAC-based VLAN is a traditional and proprietary-based VLAN, so interoperability is a problem. On the other hand 802.1Q VLAN, is an industry standard-based VLAN, which helps resolve any interoperability problems between difference vendors of LAN switches.

What is IEEE 1588 Protocol?

IEEE 1588, also known as PTPv2 is a protocol used to synchronize clocks throughout a computer network. It is a future-proof solution for data and power utilities because it meets timing accuracy and synchronization requirements of most power systems applications. Synchronization Ethernet (SyncE) achieves 1ms accuracy by using LAN Ethernet advantages.

IEEE 1588 protocol defines three kinds of clocks:

a. Ordinary Clock (OC) - A device with a single network connection, either the source of (master) or destination for (slave) a synchronization reference.

b. Boundary Clock (BC) - Has multiple network connections and can accurately synchronize one network segment to another. A synchronization master is selected for each of the network segments in the system. The root timing reference is called the grandmaster.

c. Transparent Clock (TC) - A multi-port device that forwards precision time protocol messages, measuring the time taken for event messages to pass through the device, and accounts for this residence time by modifying the message, or by sending a separate follow-up message.

What are IEEE 1588 Protocol advantages over NTP and GPS protocols?

IEEE 1588 advantages over the two dominant protocols, NTP (Network Time Protocol) and GPS:

1. Synchronization of 1ms accuracy or less.

2. Automatic latency correction.

3. Reduction of power consumption and operational costs, eliminating the need for separate cabling.

4. Instant upgrading of any existing substation network device to IEC 61850 substation automation system. This enables both legacy and new systems to be synchronized between them.

5. Provides GNSS time reference to all connected devices regardless of manufacturer.

What is the difference between Store-and-Forward switching and Cut-Through switching?

Store-and-Forward: Store-and-Forward switching will wait until the entire frame has arrived prior to forwarding it. This method stores the entire frame in memory. Once the frame is in memory, the switch checks the destination address, source address, and the CRC. If no errors are present, the frame is forwarded to the appropriate port. This process ensures that the destination network is not affected by corrupted or truncated frames.

Cut-Through: Cut-Through switching will begin forwarding the frame as soon as the destination address is identified. The difference between this and Store-and-Forward is that Store-and-Forward receives the whole frame before forwarding. Since frame errors cannot be detected by reading only the destination address, Cut-Through may impact network performance by forwarding corrupted or truncated frames. These bad frames can create broadcast storms wherein several devices on the network respond to the corrupted frames simultaneously.

What is Blocking Vs. Non-Blocking switch architecture?

A switch has a backplane bandwidth and an number of ports running at the highest speed in full duplex. If the total bandwidth for all the ports is less than the switches backplane, it would be a non-blocking switch because there is enough bandwidth to carry all packets without delay. If the backplane is less than the total port bandwidth, it would be a blocking architecture.

What is ISPDS?

ISPDS are the initials of Integrated Soldier Power and Data Systems. ISPDS play an important role in the modern tactical battlefield. The modern warfare in the twenty-first century is becoming a ground for extensive digital data exchange due to the military's requirements to for high-speed data and information transfer between soldiers in the field and command centers in real-time. 

The modern digital soldier has become a source of battlefield intelligence. He is fully equipped with advanced weapon and communication systems - outfitted with a multitude of electronic devices. These devices, such as a navigation system, battery packs, headsets, warning sensors, video visor for weapons, night vision glasses and many more items, are necessary for modern warfare. All these devices have to communicate by means of top quality and reliable connection. The weight and amount of the equipment as well as the multiple power requirements, increases in the need for miniaturization and smart integrated power and data management systems in order to engage easily and effectively in the battlefield.

What is QoS?

Quality of service (QoS) refers to technology that manages data traffic to reduce packet loss and latency on the network. QoS controls and manages network resources by setting priorities for specific traffic on the network. The result is a performance improvement for critical network traffic. QoS is useful in LAN with high volume of local traffic, such as video and sensor's data. Most unmanaged communication switches do not use or change QoS, they forward the packets towards the destination unaltered. Switches and Routers with QoS can change the network so that certain traffic is preferred over other traffic when it comes to bandwidth, delay etc. Smart switches allow setting QoS by port. Layer 2 managed switches both set and honor packet tagging. Layer 3 managed switches allow defining access control lists which recognize traffic types.

What is IGMP Snooping?

Internet Group Membership Protocol Snooping (IGMP Snooping) is a protocol that operates on switches that allows them to dynamically learn about multicast traffic. IGMP Snooping, an industry standard, does what it implies: it snoops all traffic listening for IGMP packets. Once it sees an IGMP packet, it dynamically learns what MAC address the traffic is destined for, and what MAC address the traffic comes from. Once the switch knows the MAC address, it can look up in its table on what port to send the traffic to.

What is PIM Multicast Routing?

IP multicast is a bandwidth-conserving technology that reduces traffic by delivering a single stream of information simultaneously to several receivers. Protocol-Independent Multicast (PIM) is a family of multicast routing protocols for IP networks that provide one-to-many and many-to-many distribution of data over a LAN, WAN or the Internet. It builds trees that are rooted in just one source, offering a more secure and scalable model creates shorter path for the data transmission splitting it to the different receivers only in the end of the path. Applications that take advantage of multicast include 360-degree camera monitor systems for combat vehicles, aerial applications combined with OBC-Optical Bar Camera and more.

What is RAID?

RAID is a data storage virtualization technology. It is a setup consisting of multiple disks for data storage which are linked together in order to speed up performance and prevent data loss.

RAID 0 splits data evenly across two or more disks. It increases read and write performance, enables full capacity use and easy implementation. It is a good solution for large applications with enormous amounts of data. However, having no fault tolerance and redundancy can cause the entire array to fail in case of failure of one of the drives, resulting in total data loss. To compensate this disadvantage it is recommended to implement RAID 1 configuration.

RAID 1 simultaneously writes an exact copy (or mirroring) of a set of data on two or more disks. This configuration ensures protection against data loss. It is fault-tolerant, as it duplicates the data. If a problem arises with one disk, the copy provides the data needed. It also speeds up performance and availability as it allows systems to read simultaneously from both disks. This layout is useful when read performance or reliability is most important.

What is Web-based Management?

A device (hubs, switches, routers, or wireless access points) with an embedded web-based (hypertext) interface allows users to manage the hub from anywhere on the network through a standard browser such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer. The web-browser acts as a universal access tool and can communicate directly with the device using HTTP protocol.

To access your device, open your web browser and enter the IP address of the device

What is the difference between multimode and single-mode fiber? Which fiber and equipment type should I choose for particular applications?

The terms multimode and single-mode pertain to certain optical transmission properties. Multimode optical fiber is suitable for shorter distances 2-5 kilometers, common in for instance security projects.

Single-mode fiber, which exhibits lower attenuation, is generally used for medium to very long distances and for carrying high-bandwidth signals.

What is link alarm (LLF)?

Link Alarm provides central office an indication regarding the status of the remote devices.

With Link Alarm when remote site's TP link is down, the remote converter will send a trap back to central site (Network Management Station) to report a link failure status.

Link ALARM function back to network administrator by:

Hardware Alarm: LED indication of both central (slide-in modules on Converter chassis ARG1600) and remote (stand-alone media converters) sites.

Software Alarm: User can also get the notice by SNMP Management Screens

What is in Band Management?

With "IN-BAND" management functions, network administrators can manage control and monitor each port of the remote devices from central office. Management information is being transferred secured over data channel with no need for a parallel network to transfer management information.

What is CCTV?

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is a television system that operates on a "closed loop" basis. Unlike broadcast television which is available to anyone with a suitable receiver, CCTV pictures are only available to those directly connected to the loop, which in Caerphilly county borough's case is the central monitoring control room. The loop is a physical link consisting of a fiber optic cable that carries the picture from the camera to a monitor.

What is Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)?

The ratio of the total signal to the total noise which shows how much higher the signal level is than the level of the noise. A measure of signal quality

What is a video server?

The term "video server" refers to a network-attached server for video that is connected to a computer network like a LAN. A video server can deliver live video, automatically or on request, to a browser or other professional security applications. Security systems have traditionally been based on analog CCTV (closed-circuit television) technology. Video servers digitize analog video sources and distribute digital video over an IP network - turning analog cameras into IP cameras. A video server can also be connected via a modem for access over a phone or ISDN line.

What's the advantage using MPEG-4?

MPEG-4 provides DVD quality video, but uses lower bit rate so that it's feasible to transmit digitized video streams in LAN, and also in WAN, where bandwidth is more critical, and hard to guarantee. MJPEG's bandwidth requirement is a little bit more than MPEG-4, while its resolution and frame rate are much worse. MPEG-2 can provide DVD-like video, just like MPEG-4. However, MPEG-2's bandwidth requirement is so high that it's not possible to use in a LAN or WAN environment.

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