Organizing Of Local Area Networks Computer Science Essay

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Organizing of local area net in the office and providing it with high security level and organizing the remote access to all machines in the net for the system administrator is a very important task. Its specific features will be observed in this research paper.

A computer network is a collection of several computers connected by communication channels. It usually facilitates communication among the users of the network and let them share information with each other. A computer network is designed for sharing of information and resources among devices which are connected to the network. The first operational computer network was designed in 1960s for the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The intensive development of the network began in 1969 (Sutton).

The network can serve several various purposes (Functions - What Networks Do):

It can provide easy communication among people who can use e-mail, instant message programs, video and voice chat, video and voice conference.

Easy sharing of files, information and data. Such sharing requires authorization for getting access to the information which is stored on another computer in the network. Authorization is a very important feature of security in the network.

Software can be shared via network. Using specific programs for remote control of the computer users can run applications on a remote computer.

There are a lot of types of network classification. In this research paper there will be observed cable LAN method and wireless LAN methods of connection. In an office depending on the position of the computers both methods are quite available. Cable LAN method is generally used when all the machines are located in the same building and have cable access. In this method HUBs are used for connecting all the machines in one network. Also routers may be used for the same purpose. Routers provide the users more possibilities but at the same time they are more difficult to tune. HUBs are very simple devices but with less capacity. Wireless LAN network can be organized in the companies which offices are located either in different buildings or on different levels of one building. Wireless local area network uses a high frequency radio technology which is quite similar to digital cellular phones. Wireless local area network uses routers with wireless capacity or wireless points of access. The majority of modern laptops have built-in wireless devices. For other computers additional wireless hardware must be provided.

Both methods of connections have advantages and disadvantages. Cable connection is more stable and fast, especially if optic fiber is used. But it is not often comfortable when in a big office the walls must be drilled and the cables installed. There is also a possibility that while cleaning the office some cables may be damaged. That leads to the absence of connection between computers and the internet. This does not happen if wireless connection is used though the speed of such connection is comparatively lower. Also wireless connection is more vulnerable to the threads of being intruded due to the fact that it uses the radio frequency which may be intercepted by anyone who obtains enough knowledge in information technologies. The only way to protect such connection is to set very long and difficult passwords following simple but very important advice: not to use any personal information in the password (such as numbers of telephones, dates of birth, addresses, bank accounts, names of relatives and so on). The password must contain digits alongside with letters. Such passwords are considered to be most protective. It takes a lot of time to brute force them.

Office workers vitally require easy and fast communication with each other for economy of time, not leaving their working place. For such communication different applications are designed, such as Skype, ICQ, AOL messenger, Instant messenger, YAHOO messenger and many others. With the help of such applications users can organize easy voice, text or video conferences or chats sharing their information and ideas with each other not wasting their time walking from one department to another just to tell few words to another person. The economic profit for the company is huge. Many hours of working time are spared. So the efficiency of work increases many times. Such programs are very easy to use, so any user of the network can have access to them. No special knowledge is required. The only demand is that on all machines of the network there should be installed the same application for communication.

In order to provide all the office users' access to information and data on any computer in the network so-called shared folders must be created on every computer in the network. Such shared folders can be found in the local net surrounding folder. There is a list of such shared folders. Any user of the net can get access to any such shared folder only if he or she has the access code to this shared folder. Such access codes are given to the users by the system administrator. Without such access codes some confidential information may be accessed from other networks or from the internet. There can be organized a file exchange folder for easy exchange of files (scanned documents, for example) so that the users should not use flash-cards, compact disc and other media. They can get access to such documents right from their working place and this also results in economy of time and thus increasing the productivity of work. For easy access to shared folders there exist such applications as Total Commander, Windows commander, and others. Some of these applications are commercial ones, so you have to pay money for the usage of these programs. And some of them are freeware. Such applications have two windows appearance like a very well known to many users Norton Commander. Very important issue in the sharing of documents is organizing the security. Every machine in the network must be provided with antivirus application which has access to the internet for updating virus data base and one or two firewall applications to protect the machine from being attacked from the internet by various intruders. Among antivirus applications the most trustful among users are: MacAfee, Norton Internet security, ESET Smart security. Among firewalls the most trustful applications are Outpost, Zone alarm. Many of contemporary antivirus applications are sold with integrated firewall systems. So the company does not have to buy two products. The most important data must be password protected or encrypted. All operating systems of Windows family provide the user with such possibility.

Running and maintaining big networks require specially trained stuff - system administrators whose responsibilities are: installing and updating software; organizing security of the network; troubleshooting; keeping the local net machines in good condition; tuning of various installed software; assisting the users in their problems with applications and so on. Such position requires not only deep knowledge in all spheres of computing and networking, but also a lot of time which is necessary for visiting all the working stations, finding the problem and solving it. To make the work of a system administrator more efficient and to reduce time loss the company may use specific applications for remote access to the computers of the local area network. Such software allows the system administrator to enter the remote computer, to see the desktop of the remote computer, to use the keyboard and the mouse of the remote computer, to send specific combinations of keys, to run the software of the remote computer, in other words, to have total control over the remote computer.

This helps the system administrator to solve the problems which may arise, especially in the case when the system administrator's office is located either not in the same building with the company or even not in the same city. The system administrator can gain access to the local area network by means of the internet using specific login and password which are known to him only. This is also one of the means of protecting the local network from unwanted intrusion. Among the software that allows such activity of the system administrator there are such applications as Remote Administrator (Radmin), Team Viewer, Any Place Control and some other. Such applications provide the system administrator with such possibilities as to know which of the computers of the network is currently online and which is not; to see silently what is going on the remote computer; to send files and data to the remote computer; to shut down or to reboot the remote computer when necessary; to give consultations in the text or voice/video mode. Generally such programs consist of two parts: client and server. Server parts are installed on the users' machines. The client part is used by the system administrator to gain control of the computer of the remote user. The connection between them is secured by the login and password which are known only to the system administrator. Thus, such connection is fully protected and the confidentiality of data and personal information is provided in full volume.

The conclusion of all above mentioned is that information technologies provide the companies with all the necessary software to organize highly efficient and productive work, reduce time loss, and to secure its confidential information. A good manager can organize the work of the company in the best way in cooperation with the system administrator who builds the local area network either on the basis of cable internet connection or wireless one. The choice of the either one depends on the objective realia of the office: its location, size, number of employs and machines which will be connected to the local area network and the level of desired security of the network.

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