Data Networking is the plumbing that enables your business to talk to the rest of the world
Without an efficient and well-designed data networking solution your business will struggle with connectivity to the outside world. You will also not be able to share files and folders with your co-workers.
A data network is a system that allows the transfer of data between two or more network devices (such as PCs and Printers etc). Your office data network will normally be cabled with Cat5/5e or 6 copper cable (Cat6 being the newest and offers speeds up to 1Gb) . This cable then will terminate at a network switch which will then be connected to Forewall for security, then a router to allow connection to the Internet.
What makes up a networking system?
Networking systems have come a long way from connecting a couple of PC’s with cables. As technology get more sophisticated then your data networks have to become more sophisticated to cope with all the traffic and demands that end-users will put on them. To enable data to flow, it has to be directed to the correct place and this is done using network switches. To enable traffic to reach the correct destination, we use IP addresses and each network device has it’s own IP address. It works very similar to a house address and how letters get to your home.
IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are universal and work across the whole of the Internet. This means your data knows where to go. Most end users are not concerned about IP addresses as they are generally hidden within the packet header for each piece of data.
For each network there are generally three elements:
- Network hub – The most basic element to networking. The hub passes data from one network port to another.
- Network switch – This is the semi-intelligent part of the network as it will filter and forward data to the required network port.
- Network router- The intelligent part of the network. The router forwards data packets between networks often from one router to another until it reaches its destination. You also you the router to access the Internet.
Benefits of a data network.
- Communications – Data networks allow end-users to communicate to other network users either within our own network or external to your business. I.e Emails, file transfers and video conferencing.
- Sharing network resources – traditionally if you wanted access to a printer, it would be connected directly to your PC. With a data network, you can have one network printer and it can be accessed by multiple end-users.
- Collaboration – Networking allows multiple end-user to work on a single document at any one time.
- Access to shared software – Rather than have lots of copies of software, you can now share it over a network. This makes licensing a lot easier to manage.
- Databases – Without a network, you would not be able to access shared databases.
Types of Networks
The IT industry loves acronyms, and this is highlighted in different types of networks.
LAN (local Area Network) – This what we generally refer to as your local company network. Over a single location
WAN (Wide Area Network) – If your business has more that one office that is connected together then this is classed as a WAN.
Wireless Network – To allow users to move around an office then most companies have a wireless network to access company resources.
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