Computer Networking Products Overview is a guest post from Eric at CXtec.
There are enormous amounts of computer and networking products available to consumers. Determining what items are best suited to meet your needs can be a time consuming task. Unless you are directly involved with work in the networking field, I think it is reasonable to assume that you don’t read up on all of the latest network technology products that have come out. Hopefully this article will give you a little bit of background of some of the more common technology that is available so that you can start on the right track at finding the products you need.
Networking technology has improved vastly, especially within the last several years. Email and VoIP have transformed communication technology. What once took mail days to deliver is now being done in a matter of seconds. Traditional phone calling is now being replaced with cheaper, digital, internet phone calling. Do you have the products you need to stay on the edge of the technology curve?
Broadband Connection: The connection supplied by an internet provider that gives you access to the internet via a modem and/or network.
Adapters/NICs: Hardware (network interface card) that is added to your networking device (computer) that allows the computer to send and receive information over the network.
Network Cables: Cables that connect the NIC to the incoming internet service provider network. Commonly, NICs connect to your telephone line, or cable/DSL line with networking cables through a modem. A connection to a B-ISDN (fiber optic) line is also available now. While telephone lines offered the first forms of network communication using a dial up modem, cable and DSL networking (Ethernet cables) has pretty much taken over broadband communication since the connection is â€œalways onâ€ and much faster than dial up. Fiber optic networks are even faster but are not available in many areas as fiber optic networking is a relatively new service technology.
Routers/Bridges: Allow multiple users to access the same network. An 8-port router can connect up to 8 computers to the same network. To expand network connectivity, wireless routers are also available.
Wireless/Wi-Fi: Wireless connections can be made in a few different ways. One example is a Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi enables wireless communication between a network modem and a user network device (computer/laptop). This reduces the necessity of additional cables and increases mobility. You still need to stay within the range of the wireless signal that is being sent from your wireless router and network cables are still needed to connect the modem to the internet provider network. In order to bypass wires altogether, satellite networking is available. Mobility increase with satellite communication, however, a satellite network may or may not be more beneficial as associated costs generally run higher for this service.
VoIP: An effective form of communication (voice over internet protocol) that allows phone calls to be made over the internet instead of over traditional phone lines. It is supposed to reduce the amount of bandwidth a phone call takes up while allowing multiple phone calls to be made over the same internet connection at the same time. VoIP calls can be made using a computer with microphone/speakers or headset, a traditional phone with an adapter, or a special VoIP phone that connects directly to your broadband connection. Special VoIP phones can be expensive. You can opt to purchase used phones or refurbished phones for your VoIP business to save money.
Media Conversion: Devices that convert copper networking (telephone lines) to fiber optic networking so older networking systems (dial up) can utilize and expand the growth of newer, faster, fiber optic networks.
Print Servers: Allows multiple computers and other networking devices to communicate with a printing device.
Security Firewall/Remote/VPN: Multiple security devices are available that keep private networks secure so that outsiders cannot access confidential information about your business or your personal life. Security options are available for both networking through physical network cables or via wireless communication. Security products can help monitor all incoming and outgoing activity sent from individual computers and servers to protect your network from potential threats.
Access Switch: A network access switch automates network access for managed and unmanaged users and devices. It basically makes sure that all of the computers connected to it are complying with specific set policies before granting a connection to other parts of the network or internet.
UPS System: An uninterruptable power supply that allows you to maintain access to your network and network devices during power failure.
Hopefully this gives you a basic overview of some of the network options available to you. There is a lot of technology available that attempts to mesh the many new forms of networking with older forms in order to utilize and extend the life of infrastructures already in place while promoting the growth of the new tech infrastructure. Having the ability to recognize products and their functions will allow you to make a product decision that can get you the most out of what tech and services are already available to you and what may be available to you in the near future. One thing is guaranteed, effective communication will always be a necessity. Taking the time now to understand networking and how it contributes to faster, more reliable communication and increased productivity will keep you performing ahead of the game in the future.