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Introduction: Network Infrastructure

Discuss about the Network Infrastructure.

Network infrastructure is the collection of software and hardware resources of the network at one place. It enables the connectivity among all the resources, operations and whole network management. These all are linked by telecommunication architecture. Various parts of organization are configured through networked cables, switches, routers, network protocols, cables and network access technologies. Infrastructure can be either open or closed like open architecture for internet and closed architecture for private intranet. These connection can be wired or wireless or the combination of both the methodologies.

Simplest infrastructure has one or more computer machines, internet connection and a single hub to link all the computers over the network which ties all the system to each other. This hub links computers without limiting data flow among the machines (Barrett &Wunderlich, 2011). To limit it or to control the data flow between computers and different systems a switch replaces this hub which creates network protocol to define system communication among machines. To allow this network to communicate with others, it requires a common network connection through router which works as a bridge between different networks. It basically offers a shared language for information exchange and flow between the networks.

When many computers in same campus share the common internet connection, then it is defined as a network infrastructure. It does not depend on whether computers are sharing information or not. Internet is an advanced form of network infrastructure which provides global access of network from various systems by allowing web protocols and standards. Most common are web address, known as URLs. 

Expanding organizations like Youi should adopt unified communication. It generally consist unified messaging, web conferencing, IP telephony, video conferencing and voice mails into one system. All these system are helpful to reduce inter departmental cost in a single organization. They are also helpful to boost productivity by providing a large range of applications like collaboration, billing and accounting and e-conferencing and of course unified messaging. Youi is spread on large area now which will increase communication cost among the different departments and teams (Borko, 2011). Unified communication will reduce downtime which is implicit in all interactions.

It links all telephones as a single intercom even if they are far apart, it will reduce billing cost. A single network can be easily managed instead of handling large number of networks separately. It is a large cost saver for Youi as the organization will not have to deal with multiple service providers.

Network Convergence and Unified Communications

LAN is local area network which interconnects computers in restricted area. It is a well-connected, fast and reliable network infrastructure.

Lan Types and Cabling Plan

Different types of LAN can be understood from this type. Bus type lane connects all machines over a single connection. Ring LAN connects devices to each other and completes a circle. IN star a common system is connected to all other systems. It can be extended by combining many stars. Hierarchical LAN consist a hierarchy in its structure (Cerf, 2007). In Mesh structure all devices are interconnected to each other.

CAN: Several buildings in an area can be connected over LAN, it will be referred as Campus area network. This interconnection can be provided by internal sources or by any other external service provider. It is a flat network connecting all buildings in a campus through switches. If buildings are at large distance, they may require routers. These routers are efficient in managing traffic flow and conserving bandwidth for more applications.

MAN: If buildings are at more distance like around a city, then this network will be called Metropolitan Area Network. It will be costly for the organization to own this network, so, you can buy this from service providers on lease.

This is for large area and termed as Wide Area Network. Relay or switches provide the technology to manage the network over multi locations which can span across the globe. Organization will have to negotiate with different service providers across the countries (Dixit, 2006). You will have to use routing protocol to manage network availability or link states. This is a part of huge WN and all online branches will technical part of it. However reliability and bandwidth will be lower in this structure. Certain sensitive information can bot be flown on this network. A private WN can be created for such information. WAN helps for consolidated and centralized services which result in less cost and more efficient communication increasing the overall productivity of the organization. 

Transmission media is the physical form of connecting computers, people and devices. Each transmission network requires a specialized hardware network which has to be compatible with all systems. Layers are defined for OSI referencing which explains the functionalities of hardware services. Transmission media works at layer 1 of OSI. There are three main media types:

Copper Cable: Cables include UTP i.e. unshielded twisted pair, shielded twisted pair and coaxial cable. These are not expensive and can be easily used in comparison to optical cables. There is a major disadvantage of copper cables is that they are useful only for limited spectrum. They are not for handling advance future application like virtual reality or tele-immersion.

LAN Types and Cabling Plan

Wireless: this includes microwave, infrared, radio frequencies and satellite. Deployment of this media is quick and less expensive than cable. They are very effective for less infrastructural areas. Wireless communication is also very helpful where environmental conditions do not allow to use cables because of high cost or impossible cable infrastructure. Wireless do not support much data and they have limited bandwidth (Gengler, 2009).

Fiber Optics: They have large bandwidth and immunity to various noise and interfaces with improved safety. It provides clear and relatively noise free communications. But it is costly to deploy and purchase because of requirement of special techniques and equipment.

Voice over internet protocol is a technology to deliver voice communication over internet. It can be multimedia or voice media. Broadband and internet telephony or broadband phone service, all refer to communication services over public internet rather than PSTN. Delivering voices over internet has similar steps as traditional telephony has. It includes channel setup, signaling and digitization of signals (GHERGHINA & PETRICÄ‚, 2013). After that it encodes and transfer them over a circuit based switch network. VOIP is available on personal computers, smartphones and internet devices at lower rates. Many people prefers VOIP over calls. It basically converts an analog signal into digital signal and then transfer it over network. At receiver end it is again converted to digital signal. 

World Wide Web is a space for information sharing through documents and other resources. These resources are identified by web links or hypertext links. It is central to developing information age. It is the most used tool by billions of people every day on the internet to share information or interact with each other. Web pages are simple text pages annotated with HTML. Web pages can also contain media, pictures, and video and software components also. User navigate from one page to other through embedded links. Users contribute the content by sharing information on web pages. This information is accessible globally by users. Some information may require authorization. 

Intranet is a kind of network not available for users who are outsiders for the network. If it is connected to an internet than it will be hidden by a wall. It provides the security to sensitive information and is used within an organization. It can be setup on a set of computers who are interconnected. It provides faster access with security only to the people who are internal to network. Extranet will be accessible only after access permission through the wall.

WAN Connection with Branches

Only authorized users will be allowed to access the information. Level of access can be decided by the management.

Electronic mail is the digital exchanges of information over the internet. It is a way to exchange digital messages between the users across computer network. Non-text files like graphics or multimedia can also be shared by this (Hansen, 2007). It is the most popular use of internet. Email can be shared on both public and private network through online service providers. This service send the information to a targeted set of receivers. Many receivers can be chosen at one time. Protocol used for email transfer is simple mail transfer protocol. 

Web services are standard HTTP, SOAP or XML based application which interact with different application for exchanging information. An existing application can be converted to web application using web services. It is a software which makes application available on internet by using standard messaging system. XML is mostly used for encoding communication to web services. These are distributed, self-contained or dynamic applications which can be located, described or invoked to create processes or products. These applications can be shared locally or on web. Standards like HTML, HTTP or XML are used to create these web services. They enables uninterrupted application to application information exchange. 

A growing business will need more data storage solutions for its growing needs. This data can be in the form of text, images, videos, graphics or presentation or excels. Lot of applications also take space to process all this data. A secure and protected data storage is required for all these data and applications. Devices can be chosen based on the need of the organization. This is decided based on the applications running. Location of their servers, amount of data, duplication or un-used data, sensitivity of data, accessibility of data and many more such factors. Some of the solution are:

Flash memory drives:These devices consume less power so are useful for smaller devices like mobile. These devices can be connected to other devices or laptops (Zhang, Bu, & Zhang, 2013). Information over them can be erased or protected using encryption. Example is memory chip or USB drive.

External Hard Drive: These are expensive but simpler way of storing devices. They have larger space and can be connected externally to computers. Data stored on these should have a backup as this data is easily erasable. These are easily portable.

Online storage: These devices store data at remote locations and have backup over internet. They do not be required to carry everywhere and can be access from internet whenever required. This provides the facility of large files with other users just by logging into the system and giving access to other users. It is quick way of sharing information.

Network Attached Storage: it is a reliable, fast and simple way of data sharing in network environment. It is suitable for small or large organizations. It is an economical way of storing information for multiple users. NAS is easy to deploy without need of IT department and it can be centrally consolidated and managed.  

Data processing is collection and sharing of information to different users. It requires collection, recording, sorting, classification, calculation and communication of data using different methods. Data can be processed in batches where transaction are collected and processed collectively. Another method is On-line processing where transaction are managed when and where they appear. One more method is real time processing which is parallel time processing for on-going activities.

References: 

Barrett, J. J., &Wunderlich, E. F. (2011). LAN interconnect using X.25 network services. IEEE Network, 5(5), 12–16. doi:10.1109/65.121954

Borko, H. (2011). Data structure and management. Information Storage and Retrieval, 6(6), 467. doi:10.1016/0020-0271(71)90015-5

Cerf, V. (2007). Information infrastructure. IEEE Network, 1(2), 44–44. doi:10.1109/mnet.1987.6434193

Dixit, S. S. (2006). Service and network Interworking in a WAN Environment. IEEE Communications Magazine, 34(6), 60. doi:10.1109/mcom.1996.506811

Gengler, B. (2009). Free e-mail services or disservices? Network Security, 1999(3), 8. doi:10.1016/s1353-4858(99)90024-7

GHERGHINA, C., & PETRICÄ‚, G. (2013). Wireless LAN Security issues (I). Types of attacks. International Journal of Information Security and Cybercrime, 2(2), 61–68. doi:10.19107/ijisc.2013.02.07

Hansen, L. (2007). Network infrastructure security. Network Security, 1997(6), 8–12. doi:10.1016/s1353-4858(97)89529-3

Zhang, Y., Bu, X., & Zhang, C. (2013). A communication Middleware with unified data transmission interface. Communications and Network, 05(01), 34–38. doi:10.4236/cn.2013.51b009

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