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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is Hamming code?
3.
Need for Hamming Code in Computer Networks
4.
Algorithm of Hamming Code in Computer Networks
4.1.
1. Error-correcting code
4.2.
2. Redundant bits
4.3.
3. Position of redundant bits
4.4.
4. Parity bit
4.5.
5. Single-bit error
4.6.
6. Hamming distance
4.7.
7. Generator matrix
4.8.
8. Check matrix
4.9.
9. Burst error
5.
How does Hamming's code work?
5.1.
Generic Algorithm 
6.
Examples of Hamming Code in Computer Networks
6.1.
Generation of hamming Code
6.2.
Error correction and detection in Hamming Code are:
7.
Applications of Hamming code in real-world scenarios
8.
Benefits of using Hamming code in Computer Networks
9.
Limitations of Hamming code
10.
Frequently Asked Questions
10.1.
What is an error correction code?
10.2.
What is the Hamming Code?
10.3.
What is a 2-bit error?
10.4.
What are the first 20 Hamming numbers?
10.5.
What is the Hamming code for 1011?
11.
Conclusion
Last Updated: May 28, 2024
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Hamming Code in Computer Network With Examples

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Introduction

Hamming code is an error-correction technique developed by R.W. Hamming. It helps in detecting and correcting errors that may occur when data is transmitted or stored between sender and receiver.

In this article, we will understand error detection and correction with the help of an hamming code example. Diving deeper, we would also discuss the applications of the code.

hamming code example

What is Hamming code?

Hamming code is a error-correcting code used in digital communications. It detects and corrects errors that may occur during data transmission. It was introduced by Richard Hamming in the 1940s and is widely used today.

The fundamental concept behind Hamming code is adding redundant bits to the original data bits. This can further be used to detect and correct errors during transmission. The number of redundant bits added depends on the size of the data being transmitted and the level of error correction required.

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Need for Hamming Code in Computer Networks

Hamming Code plays a crucial role in computer networks for ensuring data integrity and reliability in data transmission. Here's why it's essential:

  • Error Detection and Correction: Hamming Code enables the detection and correction of errors that may occur during data transmission. In network communication, data can get corrupted due to various factors such as electrical noise, interference, or hardware failures. Hamming Code detects errors and, in many cases, corrects them without the need for retransmission, improving the overall reliability of the network.
  • Efficient Data Transmission: In networks, especially in wireless communication and noisy environments, errors are inevitable. Hamming Code allows for efficient data transmission by providing a mechanism to detect and correct errors at the receiver end without the need for retransmission, thus minimizing the impact of errors on network performance and throughput.
  • Reduced Latency: Retransmitting data packets due to errors can introduce latency and reduce the overall efficiency of the network. By using Hamming Code for error detection and correction, networks can minimize the need for retransmissions, leading to reduced latency and improved response times for network applications.
  • Data Integrity: Ensuring data integrity is crucial in computer networks, especially in critical applications such as financial transactions, healthcare systems, and military communications. Hamming Code helps maintain data integrity by detecting and correcting errors, thereby preventing data corruption and ensuring that transmitted data remains accurate and reliable.
  • Standardization and Compatibility: Hamming Code is a well-established error-correcting code that is widely used and standardized in various network protocols and communication standards. Its compatibility and interoperability make it a preferred choice for ensuring data integrity across different network environments and devices.

Algorithm of Hamming Code in Computer Networks

Before understanding the working and general algorithm of hamming code, it is vital to know specific essential terms related to the Hamming code example discussed in the article.

1. Error-correcting code

A code used in digital communications to detect and correct errors parallelly that occur during data transmission.

2. Redundant bits

The extra bits added to a message to enable error detection and correction. Hamming code uses redundancy to detect and correct errors in transmitted messages

To calculate redundant bits, we can use the expression 

2r>=d+r+1, here d = data bits and r = redundant bits

3. Position of redundant bits

The redundant bits are assigned to positions that coincide with the power of 2. Ex, 2^p (where p=0,1,2,3…)

redundant bits and message bits

From above diagram,

Redundant bits:  r1, r2, r4

Data bits: d0, d1, d2, d3


4. Parity bit

An extra bit added to a message to check for errors. The number of 1s in the message finds the parity bit's value.

Parity bits are of two types

  • Odd parity: Here, the count of 1's should be odd
  • Even Parity: Here, the count of 1's should be even
     

5. Single-bit error

An error that occurs when only one bit of a message is incorrect. Hamming code can detect and correct single-bit errors. 

6. Hamming distance

Hamming distance is the count of the number of bit positions in which two code messages differ. Hamming distance is used to find the minimum number of parity bits required for error detection and correction. 

7. Generator matrix

A matrix used to generate the parity bits for a Hamming code. The generator matrix calculates the parity bits for a given code word.

8. Check matrix

A matrix used to check for errors in a Hamming code. The check matrix calculates the syndrome for a given received message. 

9. Burst error

An error that occurs when multiple bits in a message are incorrect. Hamming code is not able to correct burst errors. It only detects them.

Also see, Introduction to Python

How does Hamming's code work?

Hamming code is an error correction code used in digital communication, data storage, and computer memory systems.Next, let us look at the working of hamming code by algorithm and example.

Also read about - Hamming Distance

Generic Algorithm 

The Hamming code creates parity bits that cover different subsets of the original data bits. The parity bits are then used to check for errors in the transmission. If an error is detected, the code can use the parity bits to determine which bit is in error and correct it.

The systemic method to generate Hamming code can be explained in the following steps:

  1. Find the number of redundant bits' r' needed with the expression 2^r>=d+r+1. Here d represents the data bits.
     
  2. Next, the respective positions are assigned to each bit in Hamming code, starting from the leftmost bit as position 1, followed by the next bit as position 2, and so on.
     
  3. Next, the position of the parity bits is determined by selecting the positions that have 1 in a binary representation of their number.
     
  4. In this step, the value of each parity bit is calculated based on the value of data bits assigned to it.
     
  5. Next, the calculated parity bits are inserted into the Hamming code at their corresponding positions, after which the Hamming code is transmitted to the receiver.
     
  6. The receiver checks the Hamming code by calculating the parity bits using the same algorithm as the transmitter.
     
  7. A data bit can be rectified by flipping its value if an error is detected. If the error lies in the parity bit, the bit can be ignored.  

Examples of Hamming Code in Computer Networks

Generation of hamming Code

  • Suppose we have a 4-bit message that we want to transmit: 111011. Now we apply the above steps in this hamming code example.
  • To calculate the parity bits, we use the formula, 
     

2^r>=r+d+1 => 2^r>=r+6+1

=> 2^r>=r+7

Now by putting r=4, the above equation satisfies the condition.

  • Thus we will use a Hamming code with four parity bits, which requires a 10-bit code word. We place the message bits in positions 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10 of the code word and the parity bits in positions 1, 2, 4, and 8, as shown below:
redundant bits

For even parity transmission

  • For r1: bit positions 1,3,5,7,9. The positions are identified by selecting only those bit indexes whose binary form includes a 1 in the least significant bit position.
caculation of r1

As the number of 1's at all bit positions corresponding to r1 is odd, the value of r1=1

  • Similarly, we calculate r2 with the help of a parity check. The positions are identified by selecting only those bit indexes whose binary form includes a 1 in the 2nd index from the least significant bit. Thus the bit positions are 2, 3, 6, 7, and 10, and the corresponding value for r2=1, considering even parity.
r2 calculation
  • Similarly, for r3: The positions are identified by selecting only those bit indexes whose binary form includes a 1 in the 3rd index from the least significant bit. Bit positions are 4, 5, 6, and 7 with the value of r4=0 to satisfy even parity.
r4 calculation
  • For r4: The positions are identified by selecting only those bit indexes whose binary form includes a 1 in the 4th index from the least significant bit. Bit positions are 8, 9 and 10 with the value of r8=0 to satisfy even parity.
r8 calculation
  • Now putting all the parity bit values in the message, we get the Hamming code as 1110110011 for this hamming code example.
     

Error correction and detection in Hamming Code are:

  • Assuming that there is an error during transmission in the above hamming code example, and the data bit at position 5 changes from 1 to 0. Thus the message received is 1110010011. The error can be detected using the same parity bit technique. Therefore we get the parity value at r1, r2, r4 and r8 as 1, 0, 1, and 0. Since the parity values obtained are different from that of the original values, an error is detected.
     
  • To locate the position of the error bit, we use the new parity values [2^0+0+2^2+0] = 5, i.e., the assumed error bit position.
     
  • To rectify the error bit, its value is reversed. If the error bit value is 1, we flip it to 0 and vice versa. Hence the value of the bit at the 5th position is reversed to 1.

Applications of Hamming code in real-world scenarios

Applications of hamming code range widely from computer memory to medical imaging

  • Computer memory: Hamming code is one of the most popular error-handling codes used in the computer memory system to detect and rectify errors during data transmission.
     
  • Wireless Communication: In wireless communication, noise, and interference can cause errors in the transmitted data. Hamming code can detect and correct these errors, ensuring reliable device communication.
     
  • Digital TV Broadcasting: Error-correcting codes are used in Digital TV broadcasting to ensure that the received signal is free from errors. Hamming code is one of the most commonly used error-correcting codes in digital TV broadcasting.
     
  • Satellite Communication: While sending and receiving signals via satellites, errors can occur due to atmospheric changes and other environmental factors. Hamming code can detect and correct these errors, ensuring reliable satellite and ground station communication.
     
  • Medical Applications: Accurate data transmission is critical for disease diagnosis in medical applications, such as MRI and CT scans. Here, hamming code detects and corrects errors that may occur during data transmission, ensuring that the diagnostic results are accurate.

Benefits of using Hamming code in Computer Networks

The advantages of hamming code are:

  • Detection and Correction of Errors: One of the main advantages of Hamming code is its ability to detect and correct errors in transmitted data. With the addition of extra bits to the message being transmitted, the receiver can compare the received message with the original message and determine the occurrence of errors. If errors are detected, the receiver uses extra bits to correct them.
     
  • Efficiency: Hamming code can correct a single-bit error in a message of any size. It does not require additional bandwidth or processing power to implement and is easy to understand and use. Hence it is considered an efficient error-correcting code.
     
  • Redundancy: Redundancy in Hamming code involves adding extra bits to data, enabling error detection and correction by comparing received and expected data patterns.
     
  • Widely Used: Hamming code is widely used in many communication systems, including Computer Networks, digital television broadcasting, embedded processor, satellite communications, mobile communication, etc., because of its efficiency and reliability. 
     
  • Low Complexity: Hamming code does not require extensive memory or processing power. Hence it is a simple and low-complexity error-correcting code that can be implemented in hardware or software.
     
  • Versatile: Hamming code can be used for both error detection and correction. This versatility makes it a valuable tool in many applications where error-free data transmission is important.

Limitations of Hamming code

The disadvantages of hamming code are:

  • Hamming code cannot be used to detect and resolve multiple bit errors. It is suitable for only single bit errors. Thus it is not suitable for applications that require a high level of error correction.
     
  • Hamming code requires a significant amount of additional data bits to be added to the original message for it to function properly. This redundancy increases overall transmission time and bandwidth usage.
     
  • Hamming code is not secure as it can only detect errors that occur unintentionally during data transmission.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an error correction code?

When data transmission takes place, some parts of the message get corrupted due to noise and data leaks. A code used in digital communications to detect and correct errors parallelly that occur during data transmission is known as an error correction code.

What is the Hamming Code?

It is a simple error detection and correction technique that is used in data transmission. It has various applications ranging from digital TV broadcasting to computer memory and medical diagnostics.

What is a 2-bit error?

During data transmission, if the message received differs from the original message by two bits, it is known as a 2-bit error. Hamming code can be used to detect a 2-bit error in a code.

What are the first 20 Hamming numbers?

Hamming numbers, also known as ugly numbers, are numbers with only prime factors of 2, 3, or 5. The first 20 Hamming numbers are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 24, 25, 27, 30, 32, and 36.

What is the Hamming code for 1011?

The Hamming code for the binary sequence 1011 is obtained by adding parity bits to the original data bits to ensure that the total number of bits with a value of 1 in specific positions (determined by the parity bits) is always even.

Conclusion

We have discussed the working of a hamming code example and its application in various fields, highlighting its importance in ensuring reliable communication and data storage. We hope this article was helpful to you in understanding the concept behind the Hamming code better.

Keep learning! We recommend you go through some of our other networking-related articles. 

  1. Error detection and correction
  2. Message authentication codes
  3. Data link controls
  4. Basic Networking Commands
  5. Clean Architecture
  6. Device Manager in Computer
     

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