Making the decision between a wired and wireless business network is anything but easy. There are many variables that can influence which of the two will work best.
Let’s take a look at some of the requirements and benefits of each technology as it pertains to most government agencies or private sector business. This may help you make the best decision and facilitate more productivity with a lower required investment.
Wireless Networking: Convenient But Not Free from Problems
Wireless technology is the easiest to explore due to the way it works. It also tends to be the go-to choice for business, but it is worth noting that it may not be the best choice.
The basic setup for a wireless network requires a wired connection to be run from something like an ONT box to a wireless router. The connections are then handled by the router on a per-device basis.
This makes wireless networking exceedingly beneficial when your employees are on the move or you need to allow guests to connect to your network. Wireless networks offer easier connections that are more convenient to expand.
The problem, however, with wireless connections pertains to their susceptibility to lower network security
Microwaves, electronics and anything that creates interference can degrade signal quality, which in turn reduces speed and the amount of devices that can reliably connect to any one router. This is an unfortunate physical consequence that even the latest revisions, such as 802.11ah, are unable to fully overcome.
Wireless networks tend to be vulnerable due to their “open access” state. Malicious entities need only acquire the wireless network security key to gain access to sensitive data.
The last major drawback of wireless technology is the fact that all devices must be compatible with the 802.11 specification used by the router to work. This can require a modest investment in new wireless networking peripherals, which further increases the cost of wireless networks.
Wired Networking: Better Network Security for a Price
Wired networking has remained relatively unchanged for the end-user due to the way it works. You can typically plug an Ethernet or USB device into a router or a switch to gain access to the Internet.
One major advantage of wired networking is the ability to offer the greatest speeds possible. This can make communications, uploading and downloading files, and video conferencing more reliable and agile than they would be.
Wired networking tends to be better at network security. You can segment each router or switch to disallow access to other parts of your network, which is impossible to do with wireless networking due to the way signals propagate.
These advantages make wired networking incredibly reliable for office environments or environments where users expect to connect their devices in one place for a prolonged period of time. Wired connections can offer convenience comparable to wireless networking when engineered properly.
The biggest drawback of wired networking is the cost associated with it. You must retrofit buildings with more cables capable of handling larger amounts of data, which in turn makes wired networking a “premium” type of networking in most situations.
It is worth noting that, for a smaller environment, one trunk connection can branch to a single office area. This can reduce costs while still offering comparable speeds and bandwidth.
/The other drawback of wired networking is its complexity. Different types of cables must be used, repeaters and other hardware must be installed to ensure minimal signal degradation over large distances, and more hardware, such as routers and hubs, are required to make a wired network work.
Another notable disadvantage of wired networking is that they require a significant amount of time to install when compared to wireless networks. This comes from the need to retrofit existing structures and the aforementioned complexity of establishing a reliable and robust network.
Worth mentioning is the fact that a network does not have to be entirely wireless or wired. It can contain a mix of both technologies to facilitate Internet access while minimizing the drawbacks and addressing network security associated with each of these networking technologies.
Should You Use a Wired or Wireless Network?
The choice to use a wired or wireless network typically comes down to two major factors: cost and convenience.
You should always choose the type of networking that complements your business to ensure that you receive the greatest benefit from this technology.
If you are interested in changing your data network, give us a call at NetQ Multimedia today. We’re located in Freehold, New Jersey, and ready to tackle all of your structured cabling needs.