Expanding or upgrading your computer network can be a daunting project. There’s a lot of information to digest and make decisions on in the process of replacing, installing or expanding your network
Options for Constructing Computer Networks
There are many different ways to construct a computer network. Your budget and deadlines may dictate a lot about what you decide on as different configurations cost varying amounts.
You might decide on an in-premises network server. Or, a cloud computing service is a popular alternative, but it means keeping your data off-site spread among many different facilities. There are various costs involved and factors like data security that come into play when looking at these options.
Wireless, although flexible, can slow with heavy use. Wireless works best in areas with more localized signals. Wired networks are more reliable for longer distance connections. A combination of wireless and wired connections is a standard practice, you’ll simply need to figure out the architecture based on signal strengths, interference and other issues.
Basic Equipment for the Right Solution
You’ll need network adapters, Ethernet cables, Ethernet crossover cables, hubs, switches, routers, and sometimes modems to connect wired LANs. Much of the electronics will be housed in an equipment room that manage the signals coming in and out.
An Ethernet crossover cable and router can connect two computers. For an entire network, it’s good to use a central hub, switch or router. Hubs can only send or receive data at any given time. Switches can receive and send data at the same time. Broadband routers come with firewall support already built-in. This is a great solution for DSL or cable modem connection sharing.
LAN, WAN, and WLAN
Ethernet cables are for connecting a wired local area network (LAN). Employees can then use data placed on a shared network, and share printers, and other equipment. This solution is best if you’re a small business in one building and several employees. The network is private, so only those you allow can access your LAN.
Wireless LAN (WLAN) is a consideration for some businesses who want to share data on mobile devices. Explore interference from other devices before applying this solution. Conduct a site survey to avoid or at least reduce encountering overlapping channels.
Wide Area Network (WAN) means many LANS are connected together. If your business has many separate locations within a geographical location, a WAN connection is more suitable.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) makes sure that all the various pieces work together by setting standards for all manufacturers. Its 802.3 for Ethernet standards and 802.11 Wireless LANs standards were published in 2012. RJ-45 terminations of cables and classifications of different cables and their bandwidths. IEEE standards make it a lot easier to put all the pieces together.
Protocol Design Options: Open Source, Standard, and Custom Solutions
Most of the time, an open source or standard off-the-shelf solution works. However, sometimes a custom protocol design is best. Look at the overhead in each Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) packet. Be sure the network packets aren’t overloaded. Verify that the power consumption isn’t pulling a lot of battery power. Check these and you’ll likely save a significant amount in operational costs.
Networking Innovation Increases Your Business’s Value
Network design problem solvers outside of your company are usually the most cost effective way to the best solution. These valuable resources can also help you deliver complex IT projects on time. They bring knowledge, experience, and connections to your business and internal support team. This collaboration practice can be your innovative competitive advantage.
Both wired and wireless connections help businesses with productivity. Select one or a combination of both that best suits your business needs.