Building a solid foundation is essential when designing your network. The choices made initially can pay for themselves many times over or they can haunt you until the end of time. With several years of LAN/WAN management and re-design experience, we can help you make the right decisions the first time, saving you time, money and most of all, frustrations.
Local Area Networks (LAN) usually start from the simple need to share files and peripherals, and is usually a simple link between a few computers. The next step is usually to install a server (or two) so that files and peripherals can be organized in a single location on the network. As the number of computers grow, and the amount of network traffic increases, networking devices like routers or switches can be used to limit unwanted network traffic between groups of users. These groups are commonly defined by operating departments or physical locations within the office building.
Once the single networked location becomes too restrictive, additional hardware can be added to allow for access between offices or for remote users. Tele-commuting is a perfect example of Wide Area Networking (WAN). The hardware varies greatly from simple dial-up internet connections to dedicated encryption devices, allowing for the appropriate amount of security. The use of the internet has also changed WAN technology significantly, as several routers are now available that can create a 'Virtual Private Network' using only local internet connections. This is much less expensive than using dial-up or leased line connections, especially for international networks.
LAN and WAN technology is changing at a pace even faster than personal computers. The growing popularity of the internet as well as the investment interests in internet related businesses have added even more fuel to the frenzy. At this rate of advancement, technologies that were 'leading-edge' only a few months ago may be aggressively priced 'commodity' items today. Keeping this in mind, it is also very important to keep an eye on the upcoming standards, as these commodity items may also be on the verge of becoming obsolete.