Introduction to Digital Networks 221

“Introduction to Digital Networks 221” covers basic concepts and components of digital networking technology. Leveraging digital information efficiently can help optimize many aspects of a manufacturing operation, such as improving production speeds, product innovation, and product quality for end users. Efficient digital networks improve automation, allowing artificial intelligence software to send, receive, and analyze data to optimize automated tasks. However, digital networks also pose a range of cybersecurity risks.

Careers in manufacturing require personnel who can navigate digital networks successfully. Manufacturing personnel must be familiar with trends in networking technology as well as how to use digital information responsibly. After completing this course, users will understand the basic functions of different types of digital networks, recognize digital networking trends in manufacturing, and understand steps for managing risks associated with digital networks.

Class Details

Class Name:
Introduction to Digital Networks 221
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Number of Lessons:
12

Class Outline

  • Introduction to Digital Networks
  • Evolution of Digital Networks
  • Network Communication Protocols
  • Network Topologies
  • Review: Digital Network Basics
  • Network Servers
  • Ethernet and WiFi Networks
  • Cloud Computing
  • Fog and Edge Computing
  • Network Security
  • Network Laws and Regulations
  • Review: Network Technologies

Objectives

  • Describe digital networks.
  • Describe digital networking technology.
  • Explain how networks exchange digital information.
  • Describe common network topologies.
  • Describe servers used in digital networks.
  • Distinguish between Ethernet and WiFi networks.
  • Describe cloud computing.
  • Distinguish between cloud, fog, and edge computing.
  • Describe network security risks and prevention.
  • Identify laws that govern data usage on digital networks.

Job Roles

Certifications

Glossary

Vocabulary Term Definition
Advanced Research Projects Agency Network ARPANET. The first established wide area network that connected computers at several military and learning institutions in the U.S. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network was established by the United States Department of Defense and is considered the precursor to today's Internet.
artificial intelligence AI. A computer program with algorithms that enable a machine or computer to imitate intelligent human behavior. Artificial intelligence allows machines to perform a process with autonomy.
automation The use of mechanical systems that operate with limited human interaction. Traditional automation is being replaced by smart technology that can function entirely on its own.
bandwidths A measurement of the amount of information or data that can be sent over a network in a period of time. The higher a network's bandwidth, the more information it can carry.
bus topology A network configuration in which all the nodes are connected to a common cable line with two endpoints. Bus topology is easy to connect and does not require a lot of cable.
California Consumer Privacy Act CCPA. A California state law that restricts how organizations can use the private data of California residents. The California Consumer Privacy Act was established in 2018 and is effective as of January 1, 2020.
cellular towers A tall structure equipped with antennae that receives and transmits radio wave signals from mobile phones and other wireless devices. Cellular towers are often owned by mobile phone companies or wireless internet carriers.
cloud A network of remote servers that can be accessed through the internet. The cloud stores many software applications and can be used to back up data.
cloud computing The practice of using software, processing data, and storing data on remote servers that can be accessed through the internet. Cloud computing is common amongst manufacturers and consumers.
cloud-based servers A combination of hardware and software computing technology, typically provided by a third party, that allows clients to access, store, and process data remotely through an internet connection. Cloud-based servers can provide multiple clients with access to unlimited storage and processing capabilities but may pose greater cybersecurity risks than secure local area network servers (LANs).
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act CFAA. A United States federal law that makes accessing a computing system without authorization a criminal act. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was enacted in 1986 and has been amended several times in order to further define criminal actions under the law.
Computer Security Act of 1987 An early United States federal law governing the use of sensitive federal documents. The Computer Security Act of 1987 was later revised as the Federal Information Security Management Act in 2002.
copyright A form of intellectual property protection. Copyrights are used to protect "original works of authorship."
cyber attack An effort to disrupt, disable, or gain illegal access to a digital device or network. Cyber attacks include hacking, phishing, and installing malware.
cyber crimes Any illegal activity carried out using digital technology. Cyber crimes are often hard to detect and can result in significant losses for individuals and organizations.
cybersecurity Protection against criminal or unauthorized access to computer networks, programs, and data. Cybersecurity has become a major industrial concern as networking and connectivity have increased.
data encryption The process of transforming data into another form that can only be accessed using a decryption key. Data encryption protects data when it moves from a trusted to an untrusted area, but hackers also use data encryption in ransomware attacks to block users out of their own system files and applications.
data packet A unit of data that carries information such as instructions. TCP/IP is a communications protocol that breaks data up into packets.
Data Protection Directive A law established in 1995 by the European Union that regulates the collection and use of individuals' personal information. The Data Protection Directive is often considered the precursor to the General Data Protection Regulation.
digital networks A group of systems and devices connected to one another through wired or wireless connections. Digital networks allow data to transfer electronically from one location to another.
edge computing The practice of using software and storing data on multiple local devices located at the data source. Edge computing distributes processing tasks across multiple edge devices at the data source.
edge devices A computing device that processes data near the source that created it. Edge devices may include routers, gateways, and smart devices that process data.
Ethernet A common local area network standard that is the most popular network for office communication. Industrial Ethernet is a form of Ethernet used in manufacturing.
Ethernet cables A type of network cable used to connect devices to create a local area network. Ethernet cables are available in a variety of bandwidths.
European Union EU. A group of twenty-seven unified states in the region of the European continent. States in the European Union share the same economic system and central government.
Federal Information Security Management Act FISMA. A federal law that evolved from the Computer Security Act of 1987. The Federal Information Security Management Act was passed in 2002 and further defines how federal agencies must handle data.
fiber optic Thin, flexible glass or plastic optical fibers that transmit light instead of electricity. Fiber optic cable is a more advanced alternative to metal wiring for data communication.
fog computing The practice of using software and storing data on multiple local area network (LAN) servers. Fog computing moves capabilities of cloud computing onto the LAN.
frequency channels A selected radio frequency within a specified radio frequency range. Frequency channels for WiFi are most often within the 2.4 GHz or 5GHz frequency ranges.
full mesh topology A network topology in which all nodes on the network are connected to one another along multiple paths. Full mesh topologies are the most resilient networks since they allow data to travel between every device along alternate paths if the normal path is disrupted.
gateway A device used to join two incompatible hardware components or protocols on a network. Gateway devices are available as preconfigured or configurable.
General Data Protection Regulation GDPR. A set of legal regulations developed by the European Union (EU) that restricts how organizations can handle the private data of EU citizens. The General Data Protection Regulation is effective as of May 25, 2018.
hackers A person who uses computer coding and other skills to access a computer, device, or network by exploiting system vulnerabilities. Hackers may be classified based on level of skill and whether or not they act with criminal intent.
hub An interconnecting device with multiple ports that allows connected nodes to transfer data on a network. Hubs are older networking devices that have been replaced by network switches or other central devices with improved functionality.
IIoT Industrial Internet of Things. A network of physical devices used in manufacturing that contain computing systems that allow them to send and receive data. The IIoT allows devices to exchange data and automate processes without any human intervention.
Industrial Internet of Things IIoT. A network of physical devices used in manufacturing that contain computing systems that allow them to send and receive data. The Industrial Internet of Things allows devices to exchange data and automate processes without any human intervention.
Industry 4.0 A trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Industry 4.0 is seen as the next phase in the digitization of manufacturing.
Internet A global communication network accessible by anyone. Internet networks allow an unlimited number of devices to connect.
Internet Protocol IP. A group of digital communication standards that allow computing devices to interpret and send digital information over the internet. The Internet Protocol was first developed as part of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and is currently used at the network layer of the TCP/IP standard.
Internet Protocol address IP address. A unique numeric identifier for each node on a network. An Internet Protocol address is used to communicate with a device using an internet protocol.
local area network LAN. A type of wired network that enables communication between a group of computing devices in a specific geographic location. Local area networks are commonly used by manufacturers and other organizations to store and exchange digital information across a large facility.
local servers A computer or program that manages networking functions for a variety of devices within a single facility or geographical location. Local servers store, process, and transfer information between other devices connected to the local network.
malware Any malicious code or software that can potentially harm a computer, device, or network, or retrieve data from the network or device without authorization. Malware often exists undetected on systems for extended periods of time.
mesh topology A network configuration in which multiple nodes are connected to one another along multiple paths. Mesh topologies include partial and full mesh structures.
National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST. A non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a primary resource for developing cybersecurity standards and protocols.
network switch A network hardware device that allows different nodes on the network to communicate with each other. Switches have the ability to selectively forward data packets to a specific destination.
network topology The configuration of network cables and devices. Common network topologies include point-to-point, ring, star, bus, and mesh topologies.
node An active electronic device on a digital network. Nodes are able to create, send, or receive data on a network.
PANs Personal area networks. A type of network that enables communication over a short distance between a group of two or more computing devices. PANs may be set up in a small room or office.
partial mesh topology A network topology in which some but not all nodes on the network are connected to one another along multiple paths. Partial mesh topologies are more resilient than most network topologies since they allow data to travel between most devices along alternate paths if the normal path is disrupted.
penetration testing A method used by cybersecurity professionals to detect vulnerabilities in digital networks using simulated attacks.Penetration testing may involve hacking methods like cracking passwords or phishing attacks to test employees' cybersecurity awareness.
personal area network PAN. A type of network that enables communication over a short distance between a group of two or more computing devices. Personal Area Networks may be set up in a small room or office.
phishing A social engineering tactic often employed by hackers that uses electronic communications intended to trick users into providing information or downloading malware. Phishing attacks are usually conducted via email messaging.
point-to-point topology A network configuration in which one node connects to another node in a straight line. Point-to-point topology is typically used for network devices located close to one another in personal area networks.
Privacy Act A law established by the U.S. federal government in 1974 and amended in 2019 that restricts how an organization can use individuals' personal information. While originally established to restrict the use of personal information stored on physical paper documents, the Privacy Act also applies to information stored on digital systems.
programmable logic controllers PLCs. A processor-driven device that uses logic-based software to provide electrical control to machines or processes. Programmable logic controllers are used in factory automation.
proprietary A product whose rights are owned by the company that designed it. Proprietary products can be used only with the permission of the owner.
radio waves A type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than infrared light. Radio waves are used with many applications, such as wireless networks, radio communication, and television broadcasting.
real time The near-instantaneous interval of time that computers require to process data. Real time is virtually the same as actual time because computers process data nearly immediately.
remote servers A computer that manages networking functions for a variety of devices at a different geographic location. Remote servers may be used as primary servers or as secondary servers to back up data on a primary server.
removable media A storage device that can be easily inserted into or removed from a computer system. Removable media includes compact discs, flash drives, and memory cards.
ring topology A network configuration that connects each node to the next in a closed loop. Ring topologies are very orderly, with each device on the network performing an equal amount of work.
router An interconnecting device that can connect two types of networks with different protocols, such as a local area network and a wireless network. A router determines where information packets should go and sends them to their destination by the shortest, most efficient route.
secure web gateway An interconnecting device that can monitor and direct network traffic and detect potential cyber threats. Secure web gateways can be configured to block both incoming and outgoing network traffic based on certain parameters and can even prohibit users on the network from conducting actions on their devices that violate specified cybersecurity policies.
server The physical computer that shares information with other computers within its network. The server for a network of CNC machines would share part programs.
smart factories A manufacturing facility with a flexible system that constantly monitors and processes data using smart devices. Smart factories integrate automation, data collection, and data analysis into manufacturing processes.
smart manufacturing A method of manufacturing designed to improve product design and processes through the integration of digital technology throughout the supply chain. Smart manufacturing increases connectivity between all areas of product development.
smart sensors A device equipped with software that can detect physical inputs, process them as data, and output digital signals. Smart sensors are more advanced than normal digital sensors since they can process data internally rather than simply sending digital signals to an external system to be processed.
smart technology A computing technology that can send and receive data without human intervention. Smart technology generally requires internet connectivity to enable data processing.
star topology A network configuration in which each node on the network is connected to a central controller. In a star configuration, the controller takes an active role in analyzing and transmitting data packets while the nodes passively receive the information.
Transmission Control Protocol TCP. An early digital communication standard that enables communication between digital networks. The Transmission Control Protocol is currently used at the transport layer of the TCP/IP standard.
vulnerabilities A flaw within an operating system, application, or hardware. System vulnerabilities can be leveraged by hackers to make a system behave in unintended ways.
wide area network WAN. A type of network that enables communication between devices across multiple geographic locations. Wide area networks, such as the Internet, are generally open, unsecured networks and are not recommended for exchanging sensitive information.
WiFi A type of wireless network that enables communication between devices at a single geographical location. WiFi networks, also called wireless local area networks (WLANs), are typically established by connecting a wireless access point to a wired internet device.
wireless access point Wireless AP. A device that enables wireless communication by emitting a radio signal across its surrounding area. Wireless access points are typically connected to wired internet technology, such as a cable modem.
wireless local area networks WLANs. A type of wireless network that enables communication between devices at a single geographical location. Wireless local area networks, commonly referred to as WiFi networks, are typically established by connecting a wireless access point to a wired internet device.
wireless personal area networks WPANs. A type of wireless network that enables communication over a short distance between a group of two or more computing devices. Wireless Personal Area Networks may be set up in a small room or office.
wireless wide area networks WWAN. A type of wireless network that enables communication between mobile devices across multiple geographic locations using cellular towers as wireless access points. Wireless wide area networks, also called cellular networks, are generally open, unsecured networks and are not recommended for exchanging sensitive information.
WLANs Wireless local area networks. A type of wireless network that enables communication between devices at a single geographical location. WLANs, commonly referred to as WiFi networks, are typically established by connecting a wireless access point to a wired internet device.
WPANs Wireless personal area network. A type of wireless network that enables communication over a short distance between a group of two or more computing devices. WPANs may be set up in a small room or office.