Whether you locate your office at home or away from
home, the foundation for the entire setup is the local area network
or the LAN.
The LAN as a whole is much powerful than the sum of the individual
components taken separately. With the LAN, resources such as
printers, modems, file-folders, and the Internet connection can be
shared among users. LANs situated in different locations can be
combined into one consolidated network. A rational backup system on
the LAN would make a server crash just about a non-event.
Avoid the traps
Unfortunately, only few people know how to wire a network. Even fewer
people know how to install and configure a network interface on a
computer with the appropriate settings. Our
installation kits include telephone help with these.
Installing a network without first evaluating what you want to
accomplish can lead you into trouble and expense. Too often small
office owners are lured into buying esoteric systems such as Windows
NT that are supposed to provide grand solutions. Instead, they trap
themselves in unending dependency and restrictions.
The Internet and the LAN
The Internet is now an indispensable utility of the office or home.
It is the greatest source of information that ever was. Practically
anything can be researched and found instantly on it -- a recipe, a
technical (electronic) book, hotel room… the list is
unlimited. All the computers on a LAN can share the same connection
to the Internet without effecting the access speed (bandwidth). The Internet connection
has become an inseparable adjunct of the LAN.
Security on the LAN
Security is a high concern with small offices. Intruders from outside
coming over the Internet, inside personnel accessing sensitive
information and virus attacks are three areas of concern.
Most customers simply allow consultants to provide peace-meal
solutions for problems without considering possible side effects.
Very often, they compromise the freedom of the inside office trying
to block external threats.
No solution is good if it takes away time and attention from the
day-to-day running of the business.
We have balanced and rational solutions that are very easy to understand, inexpensive to install and
needs no special skills to manage.
Components of a LAN
- The connecting media
- Network interfaces
- The network protocols
- External Connections
The most prevalent network infrastructures are made of 10Base-T Ethernet cables. There are
millions of such networks. If it were installed properly with category-5 type cables, such a network
would support the future 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10 billion bits per
second). Obviously, this standard would be supported furthest into
the future than any other.
If you exert a little effort and follow the instructions on this web
site, you will find that the 10Base-T network
is the simplest to understand and cheapest to install.
There are other network media options: fiber optics, thin net,
wireless, existing telephone wiring, electrical wiring etc. However,
these should be opted for only if there is a serious obstacle to
install 10Base-T cabling. At present, these networks have bandwidth
limitations except fiber optics, which is prohibitively expensive and
redundant. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to be bound to
one proprietary system becoming a captive of one supplier.
Nevertheless, do not despair -- we will still try to help you if your
circumstances dictate this route.
Almost every PC or Macintosh computer now comes with a built-in network interface for 10Base-T. If your
computers do not have built-in network interfaces, you will need to
install network interface cards (NICs) in them or use external USB
interfaces. The NICs should match the available card slots inside the
computer - either ISA or PCI. USB network interfaces are the easiest
to install and are hot swappable. They are handy for Notebook
You can use computers that are five to six years old on the LAN. The
older computers may not have USB ports. In this case, you will have
no choice but to install NICs.
We provide telephone help to install and
configure network interfaces that come with our installation
Network protocol is the language that is used by computers to
communicate with each other. You install a particular protocol on a
computer to match the protocols other computers and devices on the
Older LANs mostly used IPX/SPX, NetBEUI and AppleTalk network
protocols. IPX/SPX is needed if you connect to a Novell Server.
NetBEUI is used on Windows systems and is currently being
discontinued. Now TCP/IP is used almost universally. The Internet
uses TCP/IP, believed to be the fastest -- evidenced by the swiftness
with which it fetches a web page from across the world.
TCP/IP need special configuration depending on the network
environment. As such, our solutions all come
bundled with help on network configuration.
Almost every LAN has an external connection. Most corporate LANs
connect to the main office via a leased line, called the WAN (wide
area network) line. The Internet connection is also a WAN line. The
home computer connecting to the Internet is conceptually a
single-computer LAN connecting to the external network, the Internet,
Now many corporations link their geographically separate networks
using various types of connections. Many of these are described
elsewhere on this site. Technology is available to pass telephone
calls over these connections to completely by-pass long distance telephone charges.
Please go to the page, Ethernet LAN to
learn how to build your own network.