Understanding network bits

Ive been trying to figure out how networks actually work.

I understand that the data is sent by packets, and that each packet is made up of bits of 0's and 1's (On and off of the electrical signal), but my question is if I wanted to read the the data stream - ie 1010111100110110011100001100110100001111100111001100111011011101, I understand that the first 96 bits contain the senders IP, Receiver's IP, Protocol and Packet numer, but If Im reading the first 96 bits of data, what bits are the senders IP, Receiver's IP etc????

Also how do you know when a BIT has started, and the next BIT starts, and what is the frequency of the reading?

I know this is all a bit technical, I just wanted to understand a bit better :-)

Thank you
tonelm54Asked:
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pilson66Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Internet Protocol Packet Structure:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv4#Packet_structure
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Pr1zConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The detail about the timings/frequencies of transmission varies from media type to media type (10/100/1000 Mbps, Wireless, ...)  These technologies are generically refered to as Ethernet.

You can find information about the "electrical connection" sides of networking here:
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet
     http://www.ieee802.org/3/

Hope this helps

Priz
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Networking_EnthusiastConnect With a Mentor Commented:
As for the bits (when each one begins / ends, etc), each 1 or 0 in of itself constitutes one bit. So, if you have 96 bits, you have 96 ones or zeroes (depending on the information contained therein). The most simple way to interpret this information is with a networking tool called a protocol analyzer...a good free one is called Wireshark:

http://www.wireshark.org/

This will interpret things like source and destination and format the bits in a user friendly manner.
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tonelm54Author Commented:
Thank you for your assistance.
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