Modern Networks need to meet users demands and are constantly evolving. Networks and the Internet has changed the way we learn, communicate and engage with others. A reliable network helps to support and enrich students learning experiences. Delivering a wide range of study materials and information whilst also making it interactive.
Networks these days:
- Support virtual classrooms.
- Provide on-demand video.
- Collaborate learning spaces.
- Mobile learning.
With the globalization of the Internet, new forms of communication have empowered individuals. Some forms are:
- Social media.
- Weblogs (blogs).
Networks come in different sizes, from your simple home network to a large organization network.
A simple home network
Simple networks installed in the home can share resources between local computers like:
A home office or small office network
These networks are often set up by individual people. They can work from home or in a remote office, with the need to connect to a centralized resource.
A large organization or international business
These types of networks are used on a large scale. This is to allow employees access to information on the servers, for consolidation and storage.
All computers, I pads, tablets and mobiles within a network that can communicate are called hosts or end devices.
LAN and WAN network’s
Networks can vary greatly in several different ways:
- Size of area covered.
- Number of users connected.
- Types of services available.
Different types of network infrastructures are:
LAN’s connect users and devices together, within a small geographical area. Like a home or small office environment. A LAN offer’s specific features for users:
- Interconnect’s end device’s within the network.
- Security and control are created by a single technician.
- Provide’s high speed bandwidth.
WAN’s provide access to multiple networks over a large geographical area. It connects several different LAN’s to each other. For example a street of 20 houses, each have an individual LAN, a WAN will connect all those LAN’s together creating a larger network. A WAN provide’s features such as:
- It’s geographical areas, can span from a town to a continent.
- Are administered by multiple service providers.
- Have slower speed links.
MAN’s work out to be larger than a LAN, but smaller than a WAN and are used by large organizations. A large company spanning over many floors will have a LAN on each floor. These will then connect to a MAN, which in turn will then connect to a WAN.
WLAN is very similar to a LAN with one difference, it connects users and devices wirelessly in a small geographical area.
SAN is designed to give support to file servers, data storage, retrieval and replication. It uses high-end servers, with multi disk arrays and fiber channel interconnection technology.
In the early days, data networks were limited in information being exchanged between connected computer systems. Telephones and TV networks used to be maintained separately from data networks. Every individual service needed a dedicated network, with separate communication channels and technology to carry the signals. The service would have it’s own set of rules and standards to ensure communication success.
With the advance of technology we are now able to consolidate these networks into one platform called a ‘converged network’. Unlike a dedicated network, a converged network is capable of delivering voice, video streams, text and graphics between different devices on the same channel and network structure. The platform helps to provide a large range of alternative and new communication methods, enabling people to interact with each other almost instantly.
On a converged network there are many points of contact and specialized devices such as:
- Personal computers.
- Tablet computers.
but with one network infrastructure. The infrastructure uses the same set of rules, agreements and standards.
With the development of new converged network applications, it can be connected to the quick growth and expansion of the Internet. There is a large potential to connect more people to the Internet via the IOE. The expansion has created a wider audience for people or companies to get their message, product or service across.
The underlying processes with the growth explosion, has resulted in a network that is capable of supporting a technology platform for:
A network must support a large range of services and applications. It must operate over several different types of cables and devices. This makes the physical network infrastructure. Network architecture refers to technologies the support the infrastructure, the programmed service and rules or protocols, that move a message across the network.
As they have evolve, we have discovered that there are four basic characteristics. These are addressed by designers to meet a users expectation.
Users expect the Internet is always available. With this in mind it requires a network structure that is fault tolerant. A fault tolerant network limits the impact of failure, causing as few devices to become affected. It is also build for quick recovery when a failure occurs. Such networks rely on multiple pathways between source and destination for a message. If a pathway fails a message can then be send a different way. Having the use of multiple pathways is known as redundancy.