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Connecting two hosts
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The first step when building a network, even a worldwide network such as the Internet, is to connect two hosts together. This is illustrated in the figure below.
To enable the two hosts to exchange information, they need to be linked together by some kind of physical media. Computer networks have used various types of physical media to exchange information, notably :
`electrical cable`. Information can be transmitted over different types of electrical cables. The most common ones are the twisted pairs (that are used in the telephone network, but also in enterprise networks) and the coaxial cables (that are still used in cable TV networks, but are no longer used in enterprise networks). Some networking technologies operate over the classical electrical cable.
`wireless`. In this case, a radio signal is used to encode the information exchanged between the communicating devices. Many types of modulation techniques are used to send information over a wireless channel and there is lot of innovation in this field with new techniques appearing every year. While most wireless networks rely on radio signals, some use a laser that sends light pulses to a remote detector. These optical techniques allow to create point-to-point links while radio-based techniques can be used to build networks containing devices spread over a small geographical area.
The physical layer
Bit rate
Bits per second
1 Kbps
1 Mbps


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