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La evolución de las Tecnologías de la Información y de la Comunicación (ICT, por sus siglas en inglés) ha tenido efecto en todos los campos de la industria. Hasta han visto que ya no es suficiente para soportar todos los tráficos generados por los miles de millones de usuarios que usan la web y las redes sociales. La creación de las Redes Definidas por Software ayudó a este fin. Si te interesa saber más sobre las redes definidas por software puedes leer nuestra entrada sobre este paradigma aquí. En esta entrada vamos a hablar de las redes de computadoras actuales. Aprenderemos qué son las redes de computadoras, cómo funcionan, sus aplicaciones y cuál es su arquitectura.

Redes de computadoras, una vista global

Qué son las redes de computadoras?

Tanenbaum define las redes de computadoras como una interconexión de una colección de computadoras autónomas conectadas por una topología única. Si te preguntas qué es el Internet, en breve te diré que es una red de redes y un medio de comunicación. Por favor no confundas el Internet con la web, usas el Internet para conectarte a la web donde estás leyendo esto.

redes de computadoras, una vista global.
Vista global del Intenet

El Internet es una cantidad infinita de dispositivos de cómputo conectados en una jerarquía invisible por el usuario. Esta jerarquía la puede observar en la figura anterior, más adelante lo definiremos.

Cuando mandas un mensaje, ¿cómo es que este mensaje viaja por esta compleja jerarquía? El WhatsApp que mandas en realidad no viaja tal cual por el Interet, se descompone en miles de mensajes que solo los dispositivos de red pueden leer hasta llegar a su destino. Más adelante te explicaré el proceso paso a paso.

Estos mensaje viajan por los medios de comunicación: fibra óptica, cobre, radio, satélite, etcétera.

Clasificación de las redes de computadoras

Las redes de computadoras se dividen en Red de Área Local (LAN), Metropolitana (MAN) y Amplia (WAN). El rango de alcance es lo único que hace diferencia entres estos tipos de redes. También encontramos las redes celulares, de radio, satelitales, marátimas y vehiculares. En estos tipos el medio de comunicación hace la diferencia. A continuación, vamos a definir cada tipo.

Red de Área Local (LAN)

Las redes de área local interconectan dispositivos finales al router. Se encuentran principalmente en las universidades y en los hogares.

Red de Área Local

Red de área Metropolitana

La red de área metropolitana como su nombre lo indica se usa más en las ciudades. En la siguiente figura te presento una.

Red de área amplia

La red de área amplia abarca una ubicación geográfica relativamente grande. El Internet es un ejemplo de una red de área amplia.

Redes de computadoras, red de área amplia

Modelos de referencia de las redes de computadoras

Dos modelos ocupan el podio cuando se trata de modelos de referencia de las rede de computadoras: el modelo OSI (Interconexión de Sistemas Abiertos) y el Modelo TCP/IP (Protocolo de Control de Transmisión/Protocolo de Internet).

El modelo OSI comúnmente se llama modelo de 7 capas debido a su división en 7 capas, y el modelo TCP/IP se divide en 4 como se ilustra en la siguiente imagen.

Modelo OSI y TCP/IP

Como lo puedes ver, el modelo TCP/IP tiene menos capas ya que agrupa algunas de las capas del modelo OSI en una.

Resumen

Para no hacer la entrada aburrida la dejaremos aquí. Más adelante te explicaré cómo funciona cada capa de cada modelo. En esta entrada empezamos un viaje largo en el mundo de las redes de computadoras, te invito a que leas las entradas relacionadas y revisar el curso completo aquí.

Acerca del autor

Saintus Zephir

Ingeniero en Sistemas Computacionales y estudiante de Maestría en Ciencias en Ingeniería y Tecnologías Computacionales en el Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN (CINVESTAV-IPN).

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