information technology

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Wireless Network Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

There are many advantages associated with installing a wireless network compared to a wired network such as mobility, cost-effectiveness and adaptability.

Wireless Networking is relatively cheaper than wired Networks since they require no cables between the computers as well as lower long term costs due to less maintenance since there is less equipment. The reduction of cables also reduces the trip hazard caused by cables running along the floor in most homes. Most wireless network equipment is plug-and-play, which helps reduce the total cost such as vendor installation and eliminates redundancy is case of a system crash.

Wireless Networking is also very mobile and versatile; it is adaptable to most situations and requirements. Wireless networks can easily be set up and dissembled, which is perfect for many people who are on temporary worksites/homes or leased space. It can also provide networking in places where regular wire cannot reach such as the backyard in a home situation. Access points can be used to boost the wireless signal range if required. Since portable workstations such as laptops have become popular, wireless networks can provide quick and easy access to the internet and workspaces for students and teachers in universities etc. It is also extremely easy to add other components onto this type of network such as easy installation of VoIP and printers etc without the need to configure ones computer.

Disadvantages

Since wireless networking is a relatively new and contingent form of networking, it is filled with it own hazards and problems such as unreliability and security.

Wireless networks have limited bandwidth, hence they cannot support Video Teleconferencing(VTC). It is also limited in its expandability due to the lack of available wireless spectrum for it to occupy.

Wireless Network can also be a security risk if not installed and maintained properly. Wireless networks don"„¢t require any physical components to connect up to it such as wires, only a wireless adapter is required which significantly increases the accessibility of the network to potential hackers. This scenario is worsened if the network doesn"„¢t contain a password since it can then be accessed by anyone with ease.

Wireless networks also have an increased chance of jamming and interference due to external factors such as fog and dust storms or when a flying object such as an aeroplane passes over the field. When too many people in the same area use wireless networks, the band of air that they transmit signals on can become overloaded.

Wired networks

Advantages

Wired networks have existed for a long times, therefore have developed exponentially over the recent years. Improvements have been made in the fields of speed, security and reliability.

Wired networks offer the fastest transfer speed of all the networks. Gigabit Ethernet is currently the best choice for wired networks and provides speeds of up to one gigabit per second. This is almost three times faster than the best wireless connection available and almost ninety times faster than a regular connection.

Wired networks consist of physical, fixed connects which are not prone to interference and fluctuations in available bandwidth caused by factors such as walls. Features such as shielding(adding an aluminium foil around the wires) and twisting at different strengths help reduce interference.

Wired networks also have a better security system than wireless networks. The network itself is harder to connect to since it has to be physically connected to through wires which can become a hassle when trying to hack into it. It cannot be accessed from anywhere since the signals are not broadcasted.

Disadvantages

Wired networks mainly suffer the inverse of the advantages of a wireless network system such as lack of mobility and greater cost.

Wireless network require greater resources such as cabling, switch/hub and network cards to install and to maintain therefore the initial and long term costs are much higher. It can also be a large loss when it has to be disassembled and reinstalled since they wiring has to be completely overhauled and is normally unusable after because of damage.

Wired networks can also be a hassle to install new components into because of all the hardware required to do this. Cables and network cards are required to install new computers to the system and wires need to be drawn from the switch to the computers. The wiring can become messy and indistinguishable very quickly and can become a potential safety hazard due to the risk of triping.

Wired Network Components

Switch

The network switch is a computer networking device that connects network segments, it connects the various parts of the network together like a convergence device. The network switch commonly refers to a network bridge that processes and routes data at the Data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. Switches that also process data at the Network layer are technically referred to as Multilayer switches.

Network card

A network interface card, network adapter, network interface controller (NIC), network interface card, or LAN adapter is a computer hardware component designed to allow computers to communicate over a computer network. It is both an OSI layer 1 (physical layer) and layer 2 (data link layer) device, as it provides physical access to a networking medium and provides a low-level addressing system through the use of MAC addresses. It allows users to connect to each other either by using cables or wirelessly

Cabling:

There are many types of cabling available but the two common groups are the copper cables and the fibre optic cables.

There are two main types of copper cables, twisted pairs and coaxial cable. Twisted pairs are two insulated wires twisted around each other to for a twisted pair. This leads to a better electrical performance and a slightly higher bit rate than untwisted pairs. The twisting helps reduce interference by twisting at different tightness"„¢ and by also adding in a layer of aluminium around it(shielded). They have become the most common form of transmission media cable today. Coaxial cables are two-wire conductors with a larger bandwidth than the twisted pair cables. The inner cable is heavily insulated so it is safe from bending and crushing and separated from the braided outer conductor. This outer cable is in turn insulated. The resultant electrical field occurs outside the coaxial cable, thus reducing the level of noise making the medium suitable for conducting high bit rates over longer distances than twisted pairs.

Fibre Optics

Fibre optic cables work through total internal reflection where a beam of light is passed through a hollow glass tube. There are two methods of transfer for this media, single mode and multi mode.

Single mode optical fibre"„¢s only carry a single ray of light that can vary in wavelength. The ray travels parallel to the length of the fibre and is often called the transverse mode since its electromagnetic vibrations occur perpendicular (transverse) to the length of the fiber. Multi mode is mostly used for communication over short distances. It utilizes multiple rays of light travelling through the same tube at the same time. Typical multimode links have data rates of 10 Megabit/s to 10 Gigabit/s over link lengths of up to 600 meters.

Wireless Network Components

Wireless Modem/Router

A wireless router is a network device that performs the functions of a router but also includes the functions of a wireless access point. It is commonly used to allow access to the Internet or a computer network without the need for a cabled connection. It can function in a wired LAN (local area network), a wireless only LAN or a mixed wired/wireless network. A modem router also allows access to the internet for the whole network.

Wireless Network Adapter

A wireless network adapter allows a computing device to join a wireless LAN. Wireless network adapters contain a built-in radio transmitter and receiver. There are many three main types of adapters, traditional PCI wireless adapters are add-in cards designed for installation inside a desktop computer having a PCI bus. USB wireless adapters connect to the external USB port of a computer. Finally, so-called PC Card or PCMCIA wireless adapters insert into a narrow open bay on a notebook computer.

Security

Authentication

Authentications are security measures designed to establish the validity of a transmission, message, or originator, or a means of verifying an individual's authorization to receive specific categories of information. E.g. Passwords.

Firewall

Firewalls can be implemented in either hardware or software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria. Types of firewalls include packet filters, proxy servers, Application gateways and circuit level gateways.

Encryption

Encryption is the conversion of data into a form, called a cipher text that cannot be easily understood by unauthorized people. Decryption is the process of converting encrypted data back into its original form, so it can be understood. There are three types of encryption, manual, transparent and semi-transparent.

Proposal:

The most suitable network for this situation is a mixture of both wired and wireless networks. Offices two, three and four should be connected through physical wired connections to ensure maximum speed and reliability and the fastest possible connection with the server without creating a more permanent layout e.g. burying the wires. Fast Ethernet cabling will be used since extreme transfer speeds are not required for this situation. Office one should be connected to wireless which eradicates the need for cables. Since there is only one computer connected wirelessly the bandwidth is not shared allowing for ‘faster"„¢ connection speed. There is also the added bonus of being able to connect laptops etc, which are becoming increasingly popular, to the network with ease. The switch and the router will be placed in office three along with the server since it will be the computer that is most frequently accessed, reducing the distance between it and the switch should increase performance. The router/modem will be connected to an internet access point to allow for internet connection.

Bibliography

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wireless Networks

  • http://faculty.ed.umuc.edu/~meinkej/inss690/khayat.pdf (accessed 10/9/10)
  • www.netgear.co.uk/home_newnetwork_wiredwireless.php (accessed 8/09/10)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wired Networks

  • http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~dil/thesis_mosaic/subsection2_7_2_2.html (accessed 10/9/10)
  • www.web-articles.info/.../Advantages-of-Wired-Networks-over-Wireless-Networks/ (accessed on the 8/9/10)

Network Components

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_adapter (Accessed 10/09/10)
  • http://www.teach-ict.com/as_a2/topics/networks/network%20components/network_components/index.htm (accessed 08/09/10)

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