The Busexpress Hotel Computing Systems Computer Science Essay

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The BusExpress hotel will provide computing and telephony systems for both the customers and staffs. There are 50 hotel rooms, 2 conference rooms and 6 staffs need the computing and telephony systems. We will recommend a telephone system for 60 users and the network equipments required for the Wi-Fi broadband connection. There are other equipments that the hotel need to set up, like the large screen projection facilities, desktops computers with broadband connection, printing facilities including printing from clients�� laptops and fax machines, but in this report, we will only focus on the recommendation for the telephone system and the network equipments for the Wi-Fi broadband connection.

In nowadays, the telephone is ��the most essential medium of communication��[1]. The purpose of telephone is mainly for home use or may be for business use. In case of Business Phone Systems, the system is designed for users to share the same telephone lines externally rather than just using the telephones individually. These business telephone systems are also designed for group of telephone users at one location. A lot of money can be saved by using these type of business telephone systems, as it is very cost effective compared to other telephone systems.

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The Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems are phone ��systems which are created specifically for business purposed��[2]. This PBX phone system is designed to form a private network between all the users, those who share the same external telephone lines. This type of business phone systems is ideal for large or medium sized companies or organizations. These business phone systems are very cost effective as they can share a few external lines among the users rather than having each users use their own external lines. By using a PBX business phone system, it is very easy for users to reach someone within the phone system by just dialling only a three or four digit extension. In PBX business phone system, there are some useful features like voicemail with forwarding, reminders, screen display and screen call functions. The PBX for business phone system is also capable of answering the phone call and greeting their clients with auto-generated messages and there is also an option for live call transferring within the phone system.

The Automated Attendant is a business phone system accessory for answering the phone calls by auto-generated messages electronically. The callers are also allowed to route themselves through menu prompts by the Automated Attendant. The voice mail systems are equipped with the basic automatic attendant system. An Automated Call Distributor or ACD is another business phone system accessory which helps to route incoming calls effectively among a set of extensions. The ACDs are mainly used in enquiry office or call centres, where it can process many incoming calls at the same time. The Computer Telephony Integration or CTIs have broad category of such applications. The Computer Telephony Integration is used to connect a business phone system to a computer; it retrieves important data from any incoming calls and processes this data for business purposes. The VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol is a new technology that helps users to place phone calls in digital form using the Internet.

The business phone systems are integrated with the standard fax machines, analog telephones, cordless telephones with the traditional telephone network and also can have option for the Internet by using Voice Over IP. The PBX business phone systems can deliver an easy managed configuration with unmatched prices.

Then, what is the VoIP? VoIP is an industry acronym which stands for ��Voice Over Internet Protocol��. It is meant that you can transmit your phone calls digitally over the internet network. The main advantage of VoIP is that you do not need lots of specialized equipment installed inside your building as you do with a traditional PBX business phone system. Instead, you only use your existing computer network to transmit your phone calls over your internet connection rather than over telephone lines.

Traditional PBX telephone systems work by having ��trunk lines�� come into your office from the local telephone company. From there, the PBX telephone system uses physical lines going to each individual��s phone, so that it can transfer calls within the telephone system. VoIP telephone system doesn��t require these expensive truck lines, and you no longer need to install separate telephone and computer network cable in each office. VoIP telephone systems use your existing computer network for transmitting and receiving all of your phone calls. Essentially, your phone calls are arriving through the same wire as your e-mail messages. VoIP telephone system can save your business money, as you don��t need to install the expensive telephone lines to your building from your local telephone company. In addition, the PBX telephone equipment requires telephone cables to each extension which VoIP system does not need, so saving you money on able installation within your building. Lastly, VoIP phone calls are routed over the internet, not the telephone system, therefore, your long distance and local phone calls are much cheaper to make because of it.

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VoIP telephone system ��is a great option for small to medium sized businesses��[3] looking for the ability to have an advanced and efficient telephone system with lower cost and ease of administration. Therefore, in this project, we will propose VoIP base PBX telephone system for the Hotel. We have chosen two brand of IP base PBX telephone system for comparison and will recommend one for the Hotel. The following is a chart for the comparison:

The increased use of wireless technologies in various forms has enabled both individuals and businesses to perform many of the functions normally associated with traditional wired systems. No longer do people need to be tied to their desks or to fixed locations in order to communicate effectively and their ability to roam around whilst communicating has many advantages for conducting business in the modern world, such as:

* increased mobility;

* greater flexibility;

* convenience;

* new service opportunities.

The additional benefits of cheap, rapid installation, ease of use and scalability ensure that the wireless networking solutions are starting to be given serious consideration for many areas of business. Wireless technology in the computer world has been around now for a number of years. The first wireless connections were established almost two decades ago, although subsequent adoption has proceeded relatively slowly, with significant market penetration achieved in only a few specialised vertical sectors, such as warehousing, education, and retail.

Until recently the take-up rate for wireless connectivity has been slow for three principal reasons:

* The original data rates were too slow to serve mainstream users on a shared Local Area Network (LAN), and wireless speeds drastically lagged behind those of wired LANs.

* Only proprietary, non-standard solutions were available, with little interoperability among devices or systems. In addition, users did not have the choice, or confidence, to purchase from a market without multiple vendors.

* The cost of wireless solutions remained high, despite the low speed, when compared to wired solutions.

Today, however, the market is transformed, with a wide choice of equipment available, particularly at the 2.4GHz band. Prices are also keen, and well within even the home user��s reach. The effect of recognised global standards for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) devices and the frequencies used has also ensured the growth in popularity in wireless connectivity.

The wireless umbrella covers a number of technologies reflecting different user needs and wireless solutions exist to form metropolitan area networks, local area networks and personal area networks (through technologies such as Bluetooth).

The most popular form of wireless connectivity is within the area of Local Area Networks (LANs) where traditional cabled systems are being enhanced, extended or even totally replaced by wireless technology in the form of Wireless LANs (WLANs) or Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) systems.

Traditionally, special network cabling (such as 10BaseT) has been used to connect the various pieces of equipment in an office �V PCs, peripherals and servers. In the case of WLAN, radio waves provide the connections between the various elements of the network. WLANs have tended to be used within an office, factory or home environment, but the technology is now being applied to provide public space Internet access and to link together the various parts of a home computer network.

WLANs are now capable of transmitting data at high speeds, and can comfortably distribute broadband Internet access to users on a network.

Wireless networking relies on the broadcast method of communication. It sends out a signal and anyone with a suitably configured receiver will be able to access and understand the information. That information is processed by the receiver, which then broadcasts a signal back to the originator.

A WLAN requires two basic components: a wireless access point (AP) and a wireless adapter (WA).

Access Points �V An AP acts like a base station, which transmits and receives data and/or voice signals via radio waves. The AP provides the link between the devices requiring connection and the network itself. Each device has a wireless adapter, and there are, consequently, more wireless adapters on a network than APs.

Wireless Adapters �V The WA, often referred to as a wireless Ethernet card, is usually situated in the end-user��s device, whether that is a notebook computer (notebook), Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or other mobile device. These adaptors are capable of transmitting and receiving digital signals, and are found in various formats depending on the host device, e.g. PC cards for notebooks, or as Industry Standard Architecture (ISA)/Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) cards for desktop Personal Computers (PCs).

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A wireless client can be any type of computer or peripheral designed to use the same wireless protocol that the access point is using. Such devices include desktop computers with wireless PCI cards, laptop computers using PCMCIA cards, and wireless peripheral equipment using built-in wireless interfaces. For most computers, all that is necessary to start sharing data and resources wirelessly is to install the proper wireless adapter cards and network software.

High frequency radio signals are used by Wi-Fi to transmit and receive data, the range between the transmitter and the receiver can over a few hundred feet. Wi-Fi uses Ethernet Network protocol, which is the most common local area network transmission technology. The wireless network uses high radio frequency to link mobile computers together into its network. Wi-Fi uses a specific radio technology called IEEE 802.11b or 802.11a to provide a reliable wireless network connection. Wi-Fi uses a frequency range of 2.4 to 2.4835 gigahertz, which are also common microwaves and cordless telephones connection frequency.

The RF (radio frequency) signal strength at wireless LAN clients can be negatively affected by signals bouncing off walls and objects in an indoor environment. The radio waves may arrive from multiple directions and in some cases can cancel or severely reduce the signal strength between portable users. This effect, called multipath, is eliminated by analysing the signals with test instruments or moving the nodes to a different location. Most access points include software-based signal strength analysis tools as part of their support package. These tools can be used to test for signal strength after the computer has been installed and brought online.

So, for this Hotel project, we will compare and recommend the Wireless Access Points network equipment for connecting both guests and staffs to the Hotel network for the broadband Internet access. The following is the comparison table for two popular Wireless Access Points currently available in the market:

In order to provide the Wi-Fi access for customers paying for accommodation and/or conference facilities, to control the access for expiration once the customer no longer has conference facilities or accommodation and to control access to print facilities, we will recommend the hotel to implement the software Antamedia HotSpot and Print Manager.

Antamedia Print Manager is a Windows based software to control the print facilities in the conference rooms. User Account and Password will be provided and a Print agent need to be installed on the computers that prints the documents. The account will be setup to expire automatically after certain days, which depends on the length of the booking.

Antamedia HotSpot is a Windows based PC gateway which helps the hotel in controlling customers for the Internet usage. Antamedia HotSpot doesn��t need any Client software installations as it uses captive portal technology to show login page in customer��s browser. A customer should be prompted to type the username and the password, which will be provided during the customer check in, to get the Internet access. After successful login, the customer can see the remaining time and bandwidth quota, expiration date and other relevant information. HotSpot will keep track of all the usernames and shows warning message when the usernames are due to expire. The software includes statistics reporting and many other useful features. It is hardware independent and can be used with any type of access points, routers, switches and other equipment to control the Wi-Fi connection in the Hotel. With the use of Antamedia HotSpot software in the Hotel, we can control and monitor access to the internet for all the computers, both wired and wireless in the guest rooms, provide reliable wireless Internet access in the hotel��s restaurant, lobby and conference rooms, which makes it ideal for seminars and meetings, maintain secure access to the Internet resources outside the hotel.

The software need to be installed on standard PC computer running Windows OS. The computer needs to have at least two network cards which are connected to the Internet on one side and to the hotel network on the other side. The HotSpot software analyzes all the network traffic between customers on the Hotel network and Internet. If customers are logged in, then the traffic is passed through the second network card to the Internet.

When a customer connects to the hotel network using the wireless network card connected to the Access Points and type any web site address, a login page will be displayed in the browser like the following:

The customers need to type the correct account information �V username and password and press the Login button, then the HotSpot software will verify this information with the database and if the customers entered correct details, login would be granted and a Welcome screen will be showed, then it will redirect to the page which customer requested.

As the Hotel will provide wireless broadband access for both guests and staffs, so the issue of security is very important. Although maintaining security on a fixed wired network is relatively straightforward nowadays, when users are scattered all over the place, making use of wireless connections, then things become decidedly more difficult. Everything from the simple loss of a mobile device to the eavesdropping on business critical data transmissions needs to be considered.

Although wireless networks are gaining popularity for their ease of installation, there is a number of security issues associated with using them to access e-mail or otherwise using the wireless network for the transmission of sensitive business information. Unlike conventional wired systems the transmissions from wireless network devices cannot simply be confined to the local environment of a residence or business. Although the range is typically limited to a few hundred feet, RF signals can easily be intercepted even outside the vicinity of the stated security perimeter. Naturally this can pose a major security risk as it is practically impossible to stop RF signals leaking out of offices or factories. Any other unauthorised mobile terminal can effectively snoop on a WLAN simply by acting as an 802.11 receiver.

By far the biggest threat to the security of mobile operations is the latest development in snooping or eavesdropping techniques known as ��drive-by hacking��. The use of wireless data communications opens up the unpleasant possibility that a corporate network employing WLAN could be hacked into from outside the office, for example, from a nearby hotel. This means that a determined hacker could conceivably spend weeks completely undetected accessing the WLAN via the air interface without going anywhere physically near corporate offices.

To minimise the risk of security compromise on the Hotel��s wireless LAN, the IEEE 802.11b standard provides a security feature called Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) will be implemented to reduce and remove threats to the system. This standard provides a method for encrypting data transmissions and authenticating each computer using the network.

Review

In review of the report, we have assumed that the hotel has five floors when designing the wireless network and the placement of the access points. We also assumed that the phone system traffic will be made up by 20% of the total extensions installed.

In order to improve the report, detailed network set up diagrams can be added and more options can be added for the comparison of the network equipments.