Internetworking can basically be defined as the connection of a computer network with other networks through using gateways with common ways of steering information packs between the networks. This practice and process contributes to the development of a system of interconnected networks, which is commonly known as an internetwork or internet. The Internet is the most common example of internetworking since it is a system of networks founded on several essential hardware technologies but linked through an internetworking protocol. In the past few years, the use of data networks has become an integral part of today's life to an extent that companies are increasingly producing internetworking products or equipments. Large computer networks are produced by companies like Nortel, Cisco, Sycamore, and Juniper as technology continues to evolve. The major function of internetworking equipments is to transmit data across a network by operating at open systems interconnection layers above physical layers.
Purpose of Internetworking Equipments:
Generally, internetworking equipment or products transmit data across a network while functioning at open systems interconnection layers above the physical layer ("Connectivity and Internetworking Devices," n.d.). These devices may direct data to particular locations within the network or change data into alternative formats. In some cases, the internetworking equipments are used to accomplish both purposes at the same time. The development of internetworking equipments was largely influenced by the need to increased sharing of information across different networks despite of the manufacturer of the network. This need emerged from the increased dependence on computers and local area networks as means of sharing information. Therefore, internetworking equipments were developed and are continually developed to meet the need of sharing information between networks despite the manufacturer (Achtmeyer, n.d.). This is the reason corporations compete to develop their own information superhighways and become leading e-businesses that meets the high demand for internetworking equipments.
Internetworking Equipment Design:
Even though the use of data networks has become an important of everyday life, there is minimal understanding what producers of large computer networks undergo to develop the systems. The design of internetworking equipment is multi-faceted, which makes the process of developing the equipment a complex task for producers. The complexity of creating internetworking equipment is attributed to the intricacy of the architectural design, definition, and development process. After the creation of prototype boards, tracking down system errors is usually an overwhelming task since debugging the prototype necessitates the visibility of data flow across various sub-systems (Fergusson, 2001).
In situations where simulation seems impractical and does not work, a logic analyzer, which is a mechanism that provides visibility, is used. This tool is used by connecting it to signals at the crossing points between chips and can also be connected to on-chip debugging boundaries to see the data flow within network processors. Logic analyzers also provide the ability to link data from various interfaces onto one time domain. This ability enables the designer to monitor data flow through a system instead of sorting out from a single bus. In essence, data from data route buses, microprocessor buses, and memory interfaces can be viewed in a single time domain (Fergusson, 2001).
Since many people do not understand the design of internetworking equipments, they view them as large plastic or metal boxes with several wires going in and out of them. However, based on their design, these equipments are distinguished with regards to their reliability and speed in sharing information across networks. The other critical differentiator is quality service because a considerable level of expertise is needed to develop a network or build up and tailor internetworking equipment. The three dimensions with which internetworking equipments are classified are intelligence, transmission media, and protocols. Intelligence refers to the degree of complexity used to transmit information packets while transmission media is the type of wire or wireless frequencies the equipments are designed to operate. On the other hand, protocols or languages refer to the communication standards the devices are designed to translate or understand (Achtmeyer, n.d.).
BayStack Internetworking Equipment:
BayStack product line is an example of internetworking equipment manufactured by Nortel Networks, a company that primarily focuses on the production of internetworking equipments. The company has manufactured a set of BayStack switches that have been used as internetworking equipments to promote sharing of information across networks and to meet the ever-increasing demand for increased information sharing. An example of the set of BayStack internetworking equipments is Nortel…