Individual actions that take place on a daily basis are now part of a larger global networks that have an influence on macro systems and infrastructure. These larger networks have an influence on what happens on the local network level. To explore this connection, it is important to understand how these networks work and how they are defined.
A network is simply two or more computers that are hooked together in a network. They can exchange data, file, and facilitate communication between the units (Malik, 2014). They can be connected through wires, radio waves, satellites, telephone lines, and fiber optic cables (Malik, 2014). The first level is the Local Area Network (LAN). This network is typically a workgroup or company. Groups of LANs are connected into Wide Area Networks (WAN), Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN), and increasingly larger network that go up to the global level with the Global Area Network (GAN). Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) connect through wireless networks rather than hard wired networks. There are also task specific networks that include Storage Area Networks (SAN), Controller Area Networks (CAN), and Personal Area Networks (PAN) (Malik, 2014). Each level of these networks has an effect on the other types and levels of network connectivity.
GANs allow LANs to have access to big data collected from a large number of resources. They can have access to big data from the cloud. Individual operators can see big trends and get an idea of how their contribution to the network fits into the larger picture. GAN allows the ability to engage in analytics using big data pools (Chen, Chiang, & Storey, 2012). Without these global networks the individual local networks would be limited in their knowledge and perspective. They would not have access to the bigger picture. They would only be able to make decisions on what was available to them.
The GAN allows network administrators at that level to makes changes that effect the many LANs that are connected to the GAN. This can be useful when there are access changes, rule changes, and updates to the system. All of the LANs can be updated at once, saving time and trouble if they had to be done individually. The new rules can be propagated quickly through the system. However, this ability to propagate information quickly through the system also opens the individual LANs up to new levels of threat. Viruses can be propagated rapidly through large networked systems (Gan, Yang, & Zhu, 2014). This means that a virus will not only affect the individual components of the system, it has the potential to disrupt the entire network quite quickly. This has the ability to take down entire systems, including those that are vital, such as the power grid and other areas of the infrastructure. It is possible for a LAN to become infected and pass a virus along that effects the entire system. This highlights the need for additional security measures for protection on a network level against the potential for an individual LAN to pass on a virus to the entire network.
This new interconnectivity using various levels and types of networks to exchange large amounts of data has advantages and disadvantages. The individual LANs are connected to increasingly larger levels of networks. This makes it easy to make system wide changes on a large scale quickly and efficiently. The LAN has access to an increasing level of information, but they also have vulnerability to an increasing number of threats. The GAN affects the LAN in many ways. The LAN loses a little more of its autonomy as the level of interconnected networks grows. The LAN is important as an individual contributor to the whole, but it is no longer as isolated as it was in the past. Global interconnectivity means global opportunity and it also means global threats as well on a local level. These are the most prominent effects of the highly integrated world that continues to be developed.
- Chen, H., Chiang, R. & Storey, V. (2012). Business Intelligence and Analytics: From Big Data to Big Impact. MIS Quarterly. 36 (4): 1165-1188. Retrieved from http://hmchen.shidler.hawaii.edu/Chen_big_data_MISQ_2012.pdf
- Gan, C., Yang, X. & Zhu, Q. (2014). Global Stability of a Computer Virus Propagation Model with Two Kinds of Generic Nonlinear Probabilities. Abstract and Applied Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aaa/2014/735327/abs/
- Malik, U. (2014). Introduction to LAN, WAN, and MAN: Networking Tutorial. Udemy Blog. Retrieved from https://blog.udemy.com/lan-wan-man/