Productivity is king for every business, and apart from having hardworking and committed employees one needs to ensure that their daily activities are done with ease to ensure top-notch productivity. Networking has become the backbone of every business in this technology age since it has transformed how everything is done.
Computer Networking, or simply networking, is the interconnection of computers or other devices enabling communication and resource sharing between the interconnected computers. To reap the benefits of computer networking in your business there is need first to choose the appropriate networking design suitable for your business. There are different types of computer networks to choose from.
Types of computer networks
The main difference between the different types of computer networks lies in the geographical area they serve and the core purpose for the network. The basic types of computer networks include;
Personal Area Network (PAN): It is the most basic type of computer network. It offers a range of 10 meters from the person to the device providing to the communication.
Local Area Network (LAN): It is the most common type of computer network. Computers are connected through a common communication path within a limited area. It consists of two or more computers connected over a server.
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): It is larger than a LAN network, it connects computers over a geographical distance through a shared communication path.
Wide Area Network (WAN): It connects computers over a large geographical distance through a shared communication path. It can also be defined as a group of LANs communicating to each other. The best example of WAN is the internet.
How to Design a Computer Network for Your Business
This refers to you defining what the network is supposed to do. It involves understanding basically three things;
Where you are: Describing the existing network, are you starting from scratch or there is an existing network design and if it exists what are its strengths and weaknesses.
Where you want to be: This is defining the goals of the new network, you may want to improve security, upgrade to new technologies, reduce network downtime or improve the speed of your network. Also what are the future plans to expand the network?
What you have available: This involves understanding the network infrastructure you would like to retain for the new network and other constraints like the budget for the new network.
Size of the network
This involves knowing the devices that would be included on the network and the intensity of their use. This items may include printers, phones, and servers.
Building structure to host the Network
This involves understanding the floor area that your business is occupying, is it a single floor, whole building or many adjacent buildings. Mark all the locations like desktop locations, boardrooms, WIFI access points, switches locations etc. This helps you come up with detailed layout of the computer network.
Create a Network Design
Based on your requirements and purpose of the network and the floor plan for your business come up with a network design that will suit the needs of your business. This process involves a number of steps;
1. Draw your network topology
A network topology is a structural arrangement of a network. It depicts network endpoints as nodes and connections between them as links. The choice of a topology has an impact on the performance, monitoring and scalability of the network.
2. Network Type
This is the physical space occupied by your business which can be an entire floor, building or multiple buildings. The extent of the physical space determines the choice of the type of network whether LAN, WAN or MAN.
3. Physical Network
This refers to the infrastructure requirement for the network. This consist of the cabling, patch panels in the network, consider the cabling to use on the network based on your requirements and lastly the components included on your network such as printers will their connections be wired or wireless.
4. Network Equipment
This involves knowing the equipment required for your network and their purpose. This may include equipment such as routers, switches, servers and hubs. This understanding helps find the best equipment for your network.
5. Addressing and Subnetting
This is the logical part of computer networking. It involves activities like assigning IP addresses, dividing your network into sub-networks and laying down security protocols for the network.
Documenting the Network Design
This requires you to document the entire network design process to ensure nothing is missed out during implementation and also for future references during maintenance and expansions.
Benefits of Computer Networking to your Business
Resources and Information Sharing
Resources and information sharing among employees is much faster, reliable and efficient when having a computer network compared to the old sharing method which required printing and filing of documents.
Time and Labor Saving
Without computer networks, people were required to print documents, send them via mail box or hire a messenger which would require money and would take time. With computer networks sharing of information and resources is as quick as clicking a button.
Computer Networks help employees do their daily activities more efficiently at any given location and time. The efficient sharing information also eliminates the cost of duplication. Computer networks also allow your employees to work remotely.
Better Security for Data
With the security protocols laid down with computer networks it is very difficult for your business resources to access by unauthorized people. Information sent via a computer network only reaches the intended parties and information stored on servers is protected against hackers and viruses.