What is the purpose of TTL?

Time is a factor permanently present in our lives. It can be stressful, but it’s an efficient way to organize and control different aspects. The idea of chaos sometimes sounds exciting, but being realistic, it’s not viable when it’s about keeping a network running smoothly. That’s why TTL exists!

What’s TTL?

TTL, or time-to-live, is a mechanism to define the period of time for data to keep living, meaning being valid, stored, or to keep traveling on computers or networks. Once the TTL value defined by the administrators to those data expires, they get discarded.

Data packets have a place for the TTL value to be registered. Once that value is established, it can be readable by routers and other machines.

What is the purpose of TTL?

The purpose of TTL is to limit the time for data packets to be traveling around machines, applications, or networks.

Data packets are constantly traveling across the Internet. Without a mechanism to control them, in a few years, the traffic could be chaotic. The first data packet ever sent could still be traveling around!

A limited time clearly established on data packets helps routers not to have them around permanently. Besides, time-to-live helps to obtain essential information from data packets. For example, you can know the time a data packet has been traveling within a network and its complete route.

Sources send data packets for being delivered to specific destinations. While traveling, they touch different points on the network called hops. Routers receive data packets and read their TTL. If this lecture shows the packets still have time/hops to travel, they will be pushed to the next point. But if their time-to-live is expired, packets will be discarded. 

Routers will report the situation to the data source via an ICMP message. ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) messages are a resource to diagnose and inform errors. An ICMP message will be sent to the IP address of the source that emitted the discarded packet. 

An ICMP message dispatched by a router to report the TTL expiration of a packet will take a specific time to reach its destination, the packet’s source. Considering that time, the hopes that the packet touched when its TTL was still valid can be tracked. You can track its complete route!

Where can you find TTLs?

  • In networking, you can find TTL in every data packet sent online to deliver to a recipient.
  • DNS queries are also data packets. Therefore they have time-to-live.  
  • Content delivery networks (CDN) use the TTL to set up the time for their servers to cache the content they distribute. When the time-to-live expires, that content is discarded. Servers have to query primary servers to update and get a new copy to cache it until the TTL expires again. 
  • DNS recursive servers cache DNS records, the time defined in every record. Each has its own TTL. When it expires, the recursive server has to get a new copy of the record from the authoritative DNS server to cache it again.

Benefits of TTL.

  • It contributes to keep systems under control and reducing stress on them by enhancing the performance of caching.
  • CDNs are really big networks. Time-to-live helps them hold copies of the content they distribute, time enough not to be stressed with continuous requests from primary servers. 
  • The consequent reduction of bandwidth and faster serving are not minor benefits!

Conclusion.

TTL is a mechanism that proves that time totally matters!

​FTP vs HTTP – differences

Have you ever thought about the differences between FTP vs HTTP, and why do we use HTTP for the World Wide Web? Now you will have your answer. 

​What is FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and it is a protocol that allows file transfer between two different hosts (devices) using the TCP/IP protocol. It is using the client-server model, where one of the hosts is called a remote host (server) and needs FTP software to be a server, and the other is called a local host (client) with FTP client’s software. Both of them need to be connected and configure to use the FTP protocol for communication.

​FTP is used for:

  • Downloading some files over the Internet.
  • Downloading or uploading files on a web hosting.
  • Other types of communication.

​What is HTTP?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and it is a protocol that we use on the Internet (World Wide Web) for loading pages through hyperlinks. It also uses the same client-server model as the FTP, where a client sends a request and the server answer with the requested content or action. The most common HTTP requests are GET, to get a particular resource, and POST, which indicates to post the text or file.

​HTTP is used for:

  • Navigating the Internet.
  • Downloading or posting on the Internet.
  • Communication between client and server.
  • Communication between servers.

​FTP vs HTTP comparison

Let’s get into the details, how similar and how different FTP vs HTTP are. You will be surprised how much in common the two network protocols have.

  • Both FTP and HTTP are network protocols.
  • Both FTP and HTTP have their secure versions that use data encryption – FTPS and HTTPS.
  • Both FTP and HTTP are still used on the Internet.
  • Both FTP and HTTP can be used for file transfer on the Internet.
  • Both FTP and HTTP use the TCP protocol but different ports.
  • Common ports for FTP are port 20 and port 21, while HTTP uses port 80 and port 8080.
  • FTP is for file transfer from a remote host after a connection is established, and HTTP is for web browsing after a connection is established.
  • FTP is usually slower than HTTP because HTTP can download a file in chunks and speed up the transfer. Also, the FTP needs to re-establish the connection between each file if there are multiple files, and that will cost extra time.
  • FTP can be used via a program, user interface, or a command-line interface, while HTTP is used through a web browser application.
  • FTP requires authentication (user name and password), while HTTP does not require authentication.
  • HTTP supports sending and receiving multiple files, while FTP does not support multiple files simultaneously.
  • HTTP provides metadata, and FTP does not.
  • FTP uses two connections at a time, while HTTP uses only one.
  • HTTP uses persistent connection (keep the connection going) for a longer time and multiple files, while the FTP needs to start and finish a new connection per each file.
  • Both FTP and HTTP support IPv6.

​Conclusion.

Both FTP and HTTP have a lot of similarities. They are still in use, and they have their secured versions. But, the biggest difference between them is their purpose. FTP is very limited and servers only for file transfer, while HTTP and its work make it irreplaceable for web browsing.

What is IPAM, and why is it important?

What does IPAM mean?

IPAM is short for IP Address Management. It is a method of IP scanning and IP address tracking. It manages the data correlated with a network’s Internet Protocol address range and IPAM system. As a result, administrators are able to guarantee that the list of assignable IP addresses is up to date and enough with IPAM software and IP tools. It comes to make things simple and automates the management of many duties for maintaining IPs. With the IPAM network, are also common functionalities, such as managing reservations in DHCP, reporting, and data collection.

How does it work?

IPAM assists with numerous tasks, and each has its own process. As a result, there can be variations in the technical way they work.

It handles three essential things in every network: IP addresses, Domain Name System (DNS), and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). They produce fundamental data for IPAM to accomplish its tasks.

To receive details from all your network’s devices, IPAM uses Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), and neighborhood scanning. SNMP is capable of collecting and organizing information about IP networks’ devices. 

With the combination of such tech and further monitoring tools, IPAM is able to receive the needed information to control the IP address range o your network. The whole statistics and information is saved in a database and can be easily accessed.

IPAM combination with DNS and DHCP

Administrators who manage DNS and DHCP services can benefit from IPAM. IPAM tools can be effective on their own, but they can’t solve alone underlying problems frequently associated with decentralized network based systems.

If you apply IPAM software on its own, the absence of integration with DNS and DHCP can be a problem. This is because these core networks roles are strongly tied to each other. If you want your IPAM data much more accurate, keep DNS and DHCP data synced. It would be a lot more valuable that way.

Operating without it

You can operate without IPAM, but it will be more challenging. The IT team can handle a small network with a simple spreadsheet. It will contain a table of IPs, routers, connected devices and port numbers. For a bigger network, this way of managing will be very problematic. It will be the admin’s job to check the extensive number of IPs and constantly will have to update the spreadsheet.

Here are some of the problems that probably will occur:

  • Troubleshooting difficulties. Everything is more complicated when it has to be done manually. Discovering the specific network issue can be a nightmare. It could take a lot of valuable time.
  • Safety problems. The chance for security breaches is very high. An unrecognized new device can connect to the network when the accountability is not well done.
  • IP address struggle. IP conflict is a possible scenario if there is no well-configured DHCP, and the admin is doing it manually. If two machines receive the same IP, neither one will be able to connect. If one of the devices is a server, this would surely be annoying.
  • Compliant problems. You might need reports and logs for your IP address space. It depends on the country you are in. If you are required to provide a report, it has to be proper.