Connectivity is the most important trait of any business network. Employees and managers need to be connected to the net, and in some business models customers need to be connected to the system too. For many businesses if connectivity goes down, they are temporarily out of business until the network is back up. As network administrator, it is essential to provide a stable and reliable architecture that will ensure as little down time as possible and that meets the main needs of the business. This research will explore various elements of network design that must be considered in the planning process. It will explore the main concerns and advantages of each type of network.

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The two main types of networks are Ethernet and wireless. There is also system that are a hybrid of the two as well. An Ethernet requires more hardware than a wireless system, mainly due to the amount of cables and wires that need to be installed. Both systems will need servers, clients, and a method of transmission between these devices. Each network will need a network operating card, network operating system, and a hub that splits the network connections. Switches will also be needed. The type of transmission device is the main difference between these two types of systems and the absence of massive amounts of wires in the wireless system.

Several limitations exist with Ethernet and wireless systems. One of the main concerns in the design of either type of system is avoiding delay of the data. Wired and wireless networks require different traffic management techniques to avoid data delays and to create the most reliable system (Gupta, 2016). Ethernet connections are fast, offering speeds up to 1000 mbps (Gupta, 2016). They work best over short distances due to the need to run cables. A wireless network is more scalable because there is no need to run additional cables. Wireless network signals can be blocked by objects such as buildings or other natural structures.

There are several type of ISP connectivity that are available to both business and private users. Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) involves running a fiber optic cable from the operator’s switching equipment to the client’s home or business (FTTH Council). This method can provide higher bandwidth than other types of ISP connections (FTTH Council). Whether DSL and CATV are other way to connect to the internet. These methods might be good enough for the home user, but limited bandwidth makes them inappropriate for the business client who has high bandwidth needs (FTTH Council). Cable modem (CATV) and DSL use copper wire which is subject to signal degradation. The farther one gets from the provider’s station, the more unreliable the signal becomes (FTTH Council). Not all types of ISP connectivity are available in every area.

The type of connectivity needed depend on several factors. DSL is the cheapest of the choices available for connectivity because it uses the existing copper phone lines that are already in place (Newman, 2016). This might be and good option for the home user who is mainly using their system to stream videos or normal Internet traffic. However, the service is often unreliable, particularly during times of peak bandwidth use. FTTH provides the fastest speeds. This is important if one will be using a wireless network. It is important in this scenario to make certain that the connection coming into the house is as fast as possible if this is the choice of connectivity chosen. Cable is typically 3-4 times faster than DSL (Newman, 2016). For businesses that need reliable connections, FTTH is the best option.

Wireless connections are quickly becoming popular due to the ability to eliminate ugly messes of wires. Wireless networks are more convenient as they can allow access anywhere there is a hotspot (Norman, 2013). When a Wi-Fi connection is not available, it is more difficult to troubleshoot than an Ethernet connection (Norman, 2013). External factors such as the weather, physical barriers, and sunspot activity can affect Wi-Fi connections and cause them to go down. This can leave the network administrator in a helpless position. An Ethernet has a physical wire, which is more stable than radio signals. When reliability is the main concern, an Ethernet connection would probably be the best choice, if the distances for communication are not too great. Another problem that plagues Wi-Fi is issues over security and continually changing encryption standards (Norman, 2013).

Many times the final decision on which type of network to choose comes down to finances. In this aspect, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Wi-Fi equipment is newer on the market and can be more expensive initially, but it the ability to expand the network to more clients is a concern, this might be the best option in the long run. Ethernet equipment has been around for almost one-half decade and is now relatively inexpensive. However, every time a new client needs to be added, it will require running more cables and wire. This can become cumbersome. However, they are the more reliable of the types of connection and will provide the most reliable connection over time.

The final decision on which type of network is chosen depends on the size of the business, plans for future expansion, the physical size of the network and how much bandwidth they anticipate using. When stability is the main issue, an Ethernet is the better choice, but when convenience and the ability to easily expand are the main concerns, then a Wi-Fi connection offers the best ability to do this easily. There are also factors that cannot be controlled that must be considered such as the presence of landscape features or buildings that might impede the signal or the availability of different types of service providers. Decisions regarding networks are highly dependent on the individual needs of the business.

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  • Newman, T. (2016). Fiber vs. Cable vs. DSL – What you need to know. FiberforAll. Retrieved
  • Norman, J. (2013). 4 Reasons Why Wired Networks are Still Better than Wi-Fi. Sewell Direct.
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