Basic internet and networking concepts
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Basic Internet and Networking Concepts Representation and Management of Data on the Internet The Internet and the World-Wide Web TCP/IP and Web Browsers The Internet and the Web Internet means Inter-Network A world-wide network of many LANs (local-area networks)

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Basic internet and networking concepts l.jpg

Basic Internet and Networking Concepts

Representation and Management of Data on the Internet

The internet and the world wide web l.jpg

The Internet and the World-Wide Web

TCP/IP and Web Browsers

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The Internet and the Web

  • Internet means Inter-Network

    • A world-wide network of many LANs (local-area networks)

    • The LANs are of various types

  • Web means World-Wide Web

    • A large collection of information arranged as hypertext and stored in many computers that are part of the Internet

  • The two are related but not the same

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A Bit of History

  • The Internet grew very rapidly throughout the 1980s and 90s

    • Less than 600 computers were connected to the Internet in 1983

    • Now there are tens (if not hundreds) of millions of computers

  • The Web started in 1989 and grew very rapidly during the 1990s

  • The current Web has billions of pages

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Internet Applications

  • Email

  • Telnet

  • FTP

  • Newsgroups

  • World-Wide Web

  • Chat

  • ...

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Web Browsers

  • Web browsers provide a very convenient interface for viewing the information stored on the Web

  • Mosaic – the first browser – was introduced in 1993 and sharply increased the popularity of the Web

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  • TCP/IP is the common language of the Internet

    • IP – Internet Protocol

    • TCP – Transmission Control Protocol

  • The IP protocol transmits packets of data from one host (i.e., computer) to another

  • The TCP protocol uses many packets to transmit a long stream of data

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TCP vs. IP

  • IP routes each packet from the source host to the destination host

    • IP is oblivious to the fact that usually each packet is part of a data stream

  • TCP handles correctly a long data stream

    • Divides a long data stream into many packets, at the source

    • Reassembles the packets, in the right order, at the destination

    • Handles errors and lost data

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  • Sockets are a common interface that make TCP streams look like file streams

  • Modern programming languages support sockets

  • A read or a write operation to/from a socket may block

    • Until data arrives, or

    • Until data can be sent

  • Use multiple threads so that blocking will not cause the whole GUI to freeze

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IP Addresses

  • A computer connected to the Internet is called a host

  • Every host has a unique IP address

  • An IP address consists of 32 bits that are written as four decimal numbers, separated by dots

    • Example:

      • The numbers denote the four bytes composing this address

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Internet Addresses

  • In addition to an IP address, a host may also have a human-readable Internet address (or hostname)

  • Some examples of hostnames:




  • The first part is the name of a particular host (i.e., computer)

  • The rest is the domain name

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The Hierarchical Structureof Hostnames

  • Example:

    • www is a name of a computer

    • That computer is in the CS Department

    • That dept. is at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (huji)

    • That university is an Academic Campus (ac) in Israel (il)

  • The rightmost name, il, is the main domain

  • As we move left, the sub-domains are more specific

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The First 7 Generic Domains

  • com - commercial organizations (

  • edu - educational institutions (

  • gov - U.S. governmental organizations (

  • int - international organizations

  • mil - U.S. military

  • net - networks (InterNIC)

  • org - other organizations (

  • More domains have been added in recent years

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Country Domains

  • Generic domains usually refer to hosts inside the U.S.

  • Other countries use two-letter country domains:

    • il - Israel

    • uk - United Kingdom

    • jp - Japan

    • se - Sweden

  • These domains have sub-domains that correspond to the generic domains, for example:

    • is the domain of all commercial organizations in Israel

    • is the domain of all academic institutions in Israel

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  • Each information piece on the Web has a unique identifying address, called a URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

  • A URL takes the following form:


  • It has 3 parts: a protocol field, a hostname field and a file field




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URL Fields

  • The protocol field (“http” in the previous example) specifies the way in which the information should be accessed

  • The hostname field specifies the host on which the information is found

  • The file field specifies the particular location in the host's file system where the file is found

  • More complex forms of URLs are possible

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Using IP Addresses in URLs

  • How does the browser know the IP address of the Web server?

  • One possibility is that the user explicitly specifies the IP address of the server in the hostname field of the URL, for example:

  • However, it is inconvenient for people to remember such addresses

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From Hostnames to IP Addresses

  • When we address a host in the Internet, we usually use its hostname (e.g., using a hostname in a URL)

  • The browser needs to map that hostname to the corresponding IP address of the given host

  • There is no algorithm for computing the IP address from the hostname

  • A lookup table provides the IP address of each hostname

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Where is the Translation Done?

  • The translation of IP addresses to hostnames requires a lookup table

  • Since there are millions of hosts on the Internet, it is not feasible for the browser to hold a table that maps all hostnames to their IP-addresses

  • Moreover, new hosts are added to the Internet every day and hosts change their names

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DNS (Domain Name System)

  • The browser (and other Internet applications) use a DNS Server to map hostnames to IP addresses

  • DNS is a hierarchical scheme for naming hosts

  • The command nslookup gets an IP address and returns a hostname or vice-versa

  • It runs on clients and contacts a DNS server

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LANS, IP Addresses and Routing

How IP Packets are transmitted Across the Internet

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IP Addresses

  • An IP address consists of 4 bytes

    • Each byte is a number in the range 0 – 255

    • For example,

  • The first 1 to 3 bytes identify the network and the remaining 1 to 3 bytes identify hosts on the network

    • There are several classes of network addresses

  • Subnet masks effectively increase the number of networks

  • Network Information Center (NIC) assigns IP addresses to organizations and companies

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Classes of IP Addresses

  • Class A: The first byte is 1 – 127

    • 1 byte for network and 3 for host

  • Class B: The first byte is 128 – 191

    • 2 bytes for network and 2 for host

  • Class C: The first byte is 192 – 223

    • 3 bytes for network and 1 for host

  • Classes D and E: 224 – 255

    • These classes have special functions, e.g., a multicast packet uses a class D address

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Subnet Masking

  • The network part of an IP address identifies a LAN (Local-Area Network)

  • Hosts in a given LAN can be up to 100 meters from the LAN switch

  • HU has one class B network address, namely, 132.64 (CS is 132.65)

    • But HU needs many LANs !

  • Subnet masking solves this problem

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Defining a Subnet Mask

  • The subnet mask is a four-byte sequence of 1’s followed by 0’s, e.g.,

  • IP addresses are interpreted as follows:

    • Any bit that is 1 in the mask identifies the network and any bit that is 0 identifies the host

  • When the subnet mask is applied to an IP address of Class B, e.g.,, it means that

    • The first 2 bytes identify a network (HU)

    • The third byte identifies a subnet, i.e., a specific LAN

    • The fourth byte identifies a host

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Local-Area Networks (LANs)

  • LANs are typically built by connecting hosts to a 100Mbit Ethernet LAN switch, using Category 5 cables

  • Maximal distance between switch and host is 100 meters

  • LAN switches transmit IP packets between hosts on the same LAN

  • LAN switches translate IP addresses to physical addresses (MAC addresses)

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  • LAN switches are connected using fiber optics to routers

  • Routers route IP packets across LANs

  • A router is connected directly to two or more LANs and it can transmit IP packets between this LANs (local routing)

  • Some routers are connected to each other via WANs (Wide-Area Networks) and do backbone routing

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Hop-by-Hop Routing

  • Suppose that an IP packet is sent from a LAN to another far-away LAN

  • The message gets to the router that is directly connected to the source LAN

  • The router sends it to the next hop, i.e.,

    • A router on the same LAN that is also connected to some other LANs, or

    • A router on the same WAN

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Routing Tables

  • Each router has routing table with prefixes of IP address

    • Each prefix has a router address for the router that handles that prefix

  • Given an IP packet with some IP address, the next-hop router is determined by matching the longest prefix (of an IP address) from the routing table with the given IP address

  • There is a default entry for the largest routers in the backbone of the Internet

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Updating the Routing Tables

  • The routing table includes local information provided by the local network administrator

  • Router periodically update their routing tables by exchanging information with their neighboring routers

  • Routing protocols: Distance Vector (Bellman-Ford), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)

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A Short Overview of How the Web Works

The HTTP Protocol, Web Proxies, Dynamic HTML Pages

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The HTTP Protocol

  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol

  • Used between Web clients (e.g., browsers) and Web servers (and proxies)

  • Text based

  • Built on top of TCP

  • Stateless protocol (it doesn’t remember your previous requests)

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Browsers Are Clients

  • We use a browser to display HTML pages

  • The browser is responsible for fetching the HTML pages and displaying their contents according to the HTML rules

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Web Servers

  • HTML pages are stored in file systems

  • Some hosts, called Web servers, can access these HTML pages

  • Each Web server runs an HTTP-daemon in order to make its HTML pages available to other hosts

  • The term “Web server” refers to the software that implements the HTTP daemon, but sometimes it also refers to the host that runs that software

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HTTP Daemons

  • An HTTP-daemon is an application that is constantly running on a Web server, waiting for requests from remote hosts

  • Technically, any host connected to the Internet can act as a Web server by running an HTTP-daemon application

  • A Web client (e.g., browser) connects to a Web server through the HTTP protocol and requests an HTML page

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Browser-HTTPD Interaction

user requests

http:// /index.html

GET /index.html


Web server

sends the

content of






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Browser-HTTPD Interaction

  • The user requests

  • The browser contacts the HTTP-daemon running on the host and requests the HTML page /index.html

  • The HTTP-daemon translates the requested name to a specific file in its local file system

  • The HTTP-daemon reads the file index.html from the disk and sends the content of the file to the browser

  • The browser receives the HTML page, parses it according to the HTML rules and displays it

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HTTP Transaction – Client

  • Client request:

    • The request

      GET /index.html HTTP/1.0

    • Optional header information

      User-Agent: browser name

      Accept:formats the browser understands


    • A blank line (\n)

    • The client can also send data (e.g., the data that the user entered into an HTML form)

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HTTP Transaction – Server

  • Server response:

    • Status line

      HTTP/1.0 200 OK

    • Header information

      Content-type: text/html

      Content-length: 3022


  • A blank line (\n)

  • Document data

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Proxy Servers

  • A proxy server acts as a delegate of browsers for accessing the Web

  • The browser transfers the request for a document to the Proxy

  • The Proxy contacts the Web server and fetches the document on behalf of the browser

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Proxy Server

proxy asks the

document from


user requests a document

browser requests the document

from the proxy

sends the

content of


Proxy server





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Advantages of Proxy Servers

  • Proxy servers have several advantages over direct access:

    • They can be combined with a firewall to enable restricted access to the Internet

    • They enable caching of popular documents

    • They can enlarge the functionality of the browser by translating from one protocol to another (for example, from FTP to HTTP and vice-versa)

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Responding to Clients’ Inputs

  • HTML pages are static documents

  • Sometimes users supply input, for example, keywords submitted to a search engine

  • The Web server has to react to this input

    • The output is an HTML page that is not known in advance

  • In order to react to the input, the Web server may have to use some applications (e.g., database queries)

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Server-Side Programming

  • Writing applications that react to clients’ inputs by creating HTML pages on the fly is known as server-side programming

  • A client request will include, in addition to the URL of the service provider, a list of parameters, for example:

  • The response to the above request is a dynamic HTML page and generating it may involve interaction with other applications (e.g., database queries)

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Generating Dynamic HTML Pages

user requests:

GET /search?what=something


sends the

content of





execution of a

search program

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Server-Side and Client-Side Technologies

Servlets, JSP and Java Scripts

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Server-Side Technologies

  • There are five common tools for server-side programming; each one works with some of the available Web servers

    • CGI (Common Gateway Interface) programming

    • Java Servlets

    • JSP – Java Server Pages, or

    • Microsoft ASP – ActiveServer Pages (similar to JSP)

    • PHP

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CGI Programming

  • CGI is a scripting language

  • A cgi script works with an application that runs on the server and creates HTML pages

  • An early technology

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Java Servlets

  • Servlets are java applications that some Web servers can run

  • A Servlet creates pages on the fly and these pages are returned to the requesting browser

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  • JSP (Java Server Pages)

    • Create an HTML page that has Java-Servlet code inside HTML tags

      • This page is actually a template

      • The code, for example, could issue a database query and create an HTML table for the result

    • The Web server executes the code in the template and produces a pure HTML page that is returned to the client

  • Microsoft ASP (Active Server Pages)

    • The code is VB (Visual Basic) scripts

    • The Web server must be Microsoft IIS server

  • PHP is an HTML-embedded scripting language

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Client-Side Technologies

  • Certain parts of a Web application can be executed locally, in the client

  • For example, some validity checks can be applied to the user’s input locally

  • The user request is sent to the server only if the input is valid

  • Java Script (not part of Java!) is an HTML-embedded scripting language for client-side programming

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Java Script

  • Java Script is a scripting language for generating dynamic HTML pages in the browser

  • The script is written inside an HTML page and the browsers runs the script and displays an ordinary HTML page

  • There is some interaction of the script with the file system using cookies

  • Cookies are small files that store personal information in the file system of the client

    • For example, a cookie may store your user name and password for accessing a particular site

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Separating Content from Style

XML and Style Sheets

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Separating Content from Style

  • In HTML, the contents and the style of pages are inseparable

    • HTML tags actually refer only to the style

  • XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a markup language for marking the semantics (meaning) of the data

  • XML tags describe the meaning of each portion of text in an XML document

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XML Tags

  • XML tags are similar to attributes in a relation

  • However, the attributes are the same for all the records of the relation

  • In XML documents, each portion of text has its own tag

    • <course> databases </course>

    • <course> operating systems </course>

  • XML tags can be nested

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Parsing XML Documents

  • XML facilitates easy parsing of documents according to their semantics

  • For example, the CS Department has many Web pages of courses

  • Can we write a program that reads all these pages and prints a list of the names of courses?

  • If XML tags are used, it is easy to do that

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Data Exchange Using XML

  • XML is important in the context of data exchange between applications

  • It is possible to define a common set of tags that are suited for specific applications

  • For example, MathML is used for exchanging mathematical information

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Showing XML Documentsin Browsers

  • XML documents contain data with semantic tags

  • For a graphical representation, information about the style must be added

    • For example, HTML tags provide information about the style

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Style Sheets

  • Style is added to XML documents by means of style sheets

  • There are two style-sheet languages

    • CSS – Cascading Style Sheets

      • Describe how to graphically show the data

      • Can be used to give all HTML pages a common style

    • XSL – XML Style-sheet Language

      • Can also transform the data (e.g., XML to HTML transformations)

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Putting it All Together

  • A common architecture for Web applications has three tiers

    • DBMS (database management system) for storing and processing information

    • A Web server + additional tools for interacting with the DBMS (and possibly some other applications) and producing dynamic HTML pages

    • A browser that supports

      • Java Script for locally generating dynamic HTML pages

      • CSS (and possibly XSL) for creating the desired visual output

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How Should XML be Used?

  • How can we query easily and effectively XML documents?

  • How can we store efficiently XML documents?

  • What is the proper way to include other resources in XML documents (i.e., figures, sounds, etc.)?

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The Challenge

  • We want to

    • represent information (internally) so that the semantics is well defined

    • use the style we like for displaying the information

  • Can we do that without making the process of creating HTML pages too cumbersome?

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Topics Covered in the Course

  • Server-side programming

    • JDBC for connecting to the DBMS

    • Servlets

    • JSP

  • Client-side programming

    • Java Scripts

    • CSS

  • Data storage and processing on the Web

    • XML

    • XSL

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Search Engines

  • What are search engines?

  • How do they work?

  • Shortcomings of search engines

  • Some popular search engines: Infoseek, HotBot, Altavista, Excite, Lycos, Yahoo!, Jeeves,...