Network communication — also referred to as internetworking — is a group of defined standards and protocols that enable application programs to transmit information regardless of the hardware device where developers operate the programs.
Networking is an essential component for cloud-native computing, a stack of communications software that allows microservices to communicate with one another and with the world at large. The dynamic nature of container-based workloads puts new pressure on the networking layers of this stack, demanding extremely low latency and rapid lookup times to find services.
What Is Computer Networking?
Computer networking connects different devices such as laptops, phones, and computers with other IoT devices to establish communication. Computer networking is evolving as modern networks provide more than just connectivity.
Virtual Networking Enhances Communication
Virtual networking connects computing devices, servers, machines, and other devices across different locations. While computer networking connects hardware through cables, virtual networking enhances communication between devices regardless of their locations and provides the same features of traditional network communication.
Virtual networking provides more efficient routing with tools such as switches and network adapters. Tailoring networks to specific applications and easy modification of networks as the need arises is provisioned through virtual networking. An example of open virtual networking is the virtual private network (VPN) that securely connects networks over the internet.
Benefits of the Network Model
A network model is a flexible approach to managing data sets. Network models often have a schema, a graphical representation with object types as nodes and relationship types as arcs. The network model is also a type of database model.
Some benefits of the network model for interconnected networks include:
Managing multiple relationship types. Unlike other models, the network model can handle single and multiple — many-to-many (N: N) relationships.
Accessing data easily. The network model makes data easier to access than other hierarchical models.
Creating accurate and consistent data. The network model depends on parent-child relationships creating a connection between parent and child segments. This structure leads to the constant creation of precise data.
Enhancing data independence. The network model is structured in database management systems (DBMS) to make data more independent than hierarchical models. This feature is available because each higher level in a data set is not adversely affected by changes to the level beneath it.
What Are Network Interfaces?
Network interfaces are the links between computers and private or public networks. Often on network interface cards (NIC) that aren’t always physical, a network interface allows wired and wireless connections.
Multiple internetworking technologies such as Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) serve as a network interface. The TCP/IP interface, for example, allows specific network technologies to understand and send internet protocol (IP) datagrams at the network layer by formatting IPs into packets.
Challenges with Networking Applications
A networking application runs on one host while monitoring and communicating with other applications running on a different host. In managing communication between networking applications, some challenges exist.
Here are some issues faced with networking applications.
Container management. Containers must share the Internet Protocol number with their host operating systems as a kernel technology. As a result, managing containers must be done either through an overlay network or other modifications.
Nature of communication protocols. Communication protocols for interconnected networks need to be more nimble to manage a large amount of traffic going back and forth across a microservices architecture.
Slow connectivity. Large file transfers — which slow down networks — make simple tasks take a lot of time and become complex. Slow connections sometimes make users wary of completing functions over a computer network.
Performance degradation. When providers do not prioritize application management and observability, performance degradation occurs. This lack of maintenance of applications reduces the consistency and quality of data, slow network speed, and poor transmission.
Security threats. Preventing unauthorized access to computer networks and cyber-attacks while maintaining network integrity is one of the constant issues teams face with networking applications.
Microservices communicate with each other through inter-service communication networks. Changing the communication mechanism when switching between microservices applications can be complex. To this end, Google has devised another technology, called gRPC, specifically for low-latency communications. To connect with the Internet of Things, IBM’s MQTT is proving to be a robust protocol for low-bandwidth devices.
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