Data Communication

A Guide to Credit for Prior Learning

Typical Learning Experiences of Students Earning Lower-Level Credit:

  • Attend training seminars, complete readings and/or have significant on-the-job experience in data communication.

Typical Learning Experiences of Students Earning Upper-Level Credit:

  • Students generally earn lower-level credit in data communication. Those seeking upper-level credit often have significant experience in the design and/or analysis of complex data communication systems. For example, students may have designed LAN upgrades or coordinated the total install (hardware, software, configuration) of Wide Area Networks. Usually, a more specific title is given to reflect the aspect that makes the CBE an upper-level request.

Discussion Topics:

If students are familiar with some (but not necessarily all) of the following topics, they may be eligible for lower-level credit in the area of data communication. If knowledge of some of the topics is substantial, the students may consider requesting additional credit in more narrowly defined areas.

Application and Integration of Data Communication

  • Define four or five uses of data communication.
  • What agency of the U.S. government is responsible for regulating interstate telephony?
  • Describe the progression of data communication from the 1950’s to present.
  • What is a common carrier?
  • What is GroupWare?
  • What is a listserv and how could you use it to get information?
  • What is the WWW? How does it differ from other Internet tools?

Telephone Communications

  • Why are telephone switches needed?
  • How are Data PBX switches used?
  • What is the function of call management systems?
  • How is data over voice accomplished?
  • What are the various types of Fax machines?

Data Communication Hardware

  • Describe three basic functions of application software packages.
  • Describe the function of a front processor.
  • What is the major purpose of multiplexing?
  • What is a protocol? Name three.
  • What is a multipoint circuit?
  • What are SLIP, PPP and bonding?

Data Transmission

  • What is synchronous communication? How does it differ from asynchronous communication?
  • What variables control transmission speed?
  • What is the purpose of a loopback?
  • Describe four communications model standards.
  • Describe coding. Give two coding schemes.

Data Link Layer

  • What does the data link layer do?
  • Define and describe noise.
  • Describe three types of error protocol.
  • What is cyclical redundancy checking?
  • Describe five approaches to preventing or reducing errors.
  • What causes attenuation?

Network Layer

  • Describe four types of network topologies.
  • What are the differences between connectionless and connection-oriented networks?
  • Describe TCP/IP.
  • How does an SNA network work?
  • What does CICS do and how does it work?

Local Area Networks

  • What makes a LAN different from a WAN?
  • Describe three types of LANs.
  • What are commonly used topologies?
  • Describe three network protocols.
  • Describe some criteria on which you would base LAN selection.
  • What cable mediums do LANs commonly use?
  • How does network segmentation improve LAN performance?

Wide Area Networks

  • What is a virtual circuit?
  • What does a POD do?
  • Why is packet switching popular?
  • Compare and contrast ATM and frame relay.
  • Name five RBOCs.
  • Define and describe LATAs.
  • Define and describe ISDN.
  • Describe SONET architecture.

Network Design and Management

  • What key variables are there to design a Data Communication Network?
  • Define response time and its variables.
  • Describe two or three critical parts of a feasibility study.
  • What does a network manager do?
  • Describe the difficulty in combining voice, data and video.
  • What is a sniffer? How does it help?
  • Describe a few types of network testing tools.
  • What is SNMP?

Network Security

  • What is a virus?
  • Define encryption, authentication and network address translation. How do they differ?
  • What is a call back modem?
  • What would a disaster recovery plan contain?
  • What is a Delphi team?
  • What is IP spoofing?

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