Two and a half technologies
After that brief introspection, you’ll have some idea about what you want from the network, the physical landscape you’re working in, and how the network will accommodate your business in the short to medium term. There are numerous ways to dive into networking, but one of the most appropriate entry points is looking at the major types of technologies: wireless and wired.
Starting with wired networks, there’s one obvious advantage over wireless: security. By using closed cabling as the transfer medium, the network is restricted only to those ‘plugged in’ – the only other entry point is the Internet, which is typically blocked from accessing the internal network. The next advantage over wireless networks is speed, though unlike its inherent security features, wired networks are in constant competition to wireless.
Most small to medium businesses will encounter 100Mb/s Fast Ethernet, 1000Mb/s Gigabit Ethernet, or for older networks, 10Mb/s Ethernet. Ethernet technology has been in use for decades, and despite the growth in wireless use, Ethernet will be around for a while yet. Most wired networks would be running Fast Ethernet, however, with the ever increasing size of most file types, 100Mb/s is starting to get restrictive, making the higher throughput of Gigabit Ethernet much more viable.
Ethernet is such a flexible, ubiquitous technology that you’ll find it in most office environments. It could be connecting two PCs in a simple peer-to-peer arrangement, or it could be connecting large 1000 seat organisations running 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). Most importantly, however, is that regardless of the speed, Ethernet can take advantage of the existing twisted pair infrastructure of most offices, making it useful if you intend to upgrade in the future.
The right network
By Ed Dawson on May 1, 2007 4:28PM
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