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Situational Awareness Report

Essay by   •  December 7, 2012  •  Case Study  •  1,472 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,546 Views

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Introduction

Situational awareness is the view of environmental things with respect to space and/or time, the understanding of their meaning, and the outcrop of their status after few variables has changed, such as time.

SA involves being alert of the current happenings in the system to know how events, information and one's own action will affect the objectives and goals, both now and in the future. Inadequate or lacking situational awareness has been found out as one of the key factors in accidents attributed to human error. Hence Situational awareness is important especially in work domains where the flow of information can be high and any worst decision can lead to serious consequences.

Having that said, this report aims to identify the various quantifiable components of a host computer and of a network that could be used to describe the current state of the systems.

This report will also list the metrics and range of possible values of the components and how these components affect each component of a computer.

Computer Components

Computer components or hardware are component devices - are the building blocks of computers. These components are installed into a computer case by cable through ports. These components are also known as peripherals.

This report aims to look at these computer/network components

1) CPU

2) RAM

3) Operating System

4) Memory

5) Network Bandwidth

6) Port

How do these components communicate with each other?

 When the computer is turned on, the data is loaded from ROM - Read Only Memory. To make sure, all the components are working properly, a power-on self-test (POST) is performed. With a quick read/write operation, the memory controller checks for all the memory addresses to see if there are any errors in memory chips.

 From ROM, the computer loads BIOS - basic Input/Output system. BIOS gives information about boot sequence, storage devices, Plug and Play capability, security etc.,

 Computer then loads the OS - Operating System to system's RAM from hard drive. Usually, the significant parts of OS are maintained in RAM till the computer is on. This helps the computer to have instant access to the OS, which improves the functionality and performance of the system.

 When an application is open, it is first loaded into Random Access Memory (RAM). To preserve the usage of RAM, most of the applications load only the important parts of the program and later the other pieces of the program are loaded.

 When the application is loaded, files that are opened are loaded into RAM.

 When you file is saved and application is closed , the file is written to a particular storage device. The application is then purged from RAM.

CPU

Central Processing Unit is considered to be the brain of a computer, where most of the calculations are taken place. CPU is considered to be the main element of a computer system in terms of computing power.

CPU Usage

CPU usage means, how much CPU is being currently used. For instance, if you have dual core CPU and the usage of CPU is 50%, it means that both the cores are half used or only one core is fully used.

When the value of CPU usage is more than 80, then the criticality is very high. When the value is between 70 and 80, the criticality is high. When the value is between 60 and 70, the criticality is low. When it is less than 60, this means that there is no criticality.

When CPU Usage is High, it means that there is a freezing, slow performance and shut down in your system. This might be because, there are too many programs that are running simultaneously and time taken for each process to be performed increases and hence the CPU usage levels increases.

Operating System & RAM

Operating System (OS) is a set of software that manages hardware resources and gives common services for computer programs. In a computer system, operating system is an important component of the system software. Operating System is needed for application programs to function.

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a data storage device that helps the stored data to be accessed in same amount of time as in storage location. This helps the data to be accessed very quickly in a random order.

These days, many of the modern operating systems uses a method for extending RAM capacity known as virtual memory. Part of a computer's hard drive is kept away for scratch partition or paging file and the combination of paging file and physical RAM forms the total memory of the system. For an instance, if a computer has 1GB page file and 2GB of RAM, then OS will totally have 3GB memory.

When the computer runs low on physical memory, portions of RAM can be swapped to the paging file in order to make have space for new data as well as to continue with the existing data.

Port Numbers

Appendix #4 shows the list of few port numbers used by protocols of Internet Protocol Suite and Transport layer for initiating host-to-host communications.

Port numbers ranges from 1 to 65535 and these port numbers were used by User Datagram Protocol and Transmission Control Protocol, but they are also controlled by Datagram Congestion Control Protocol and Stream Control Transmission Protocol. DCCP and SCTP uses a port number usually that matches with the corresponding UDP and TCP implementation. IANA - Internet Assigned Numbers Authority is responsible for assigning and maintaining port numbers for specific uses.

Port number is part of addressing information to identify the sender and receiver of the messages. For example, let's see the usage of port for Internet mail system. This IMS needs two services generally. They are for sending and receiving emails.

The first service is used to transfer mails between servers. This is done with the help of Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. SMTP listens to port number 25 for all the requests that are coming from other servers.

Second service is to fetch the mails from the server. This is done with the help of Internet Message Access Protocol or Post office protocol. Post Office Protocol listens to port number 110 to fetch the mails from the server.

The client's port number is chosen from the dynamic port range often,

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