Wired and Wireless Network
Wireless Vs Wired Networks| There are two kinds of network technologies: * Wireless – communicates through radio waves * Wired – communicates through data cables (most commonly Ethernet-based)| Why choose a wireless network? | Wireless networks don’t use cables for connections, but rather they use radio waves, like cordless phones. The advantage of a wireless network is the mobility and freedom from the restriction of wires or a fixed connection.
The benefits of having a wireless network include: * Mobility and freedom – work anywhere * No restriction of wires or a fixed connection * Quick, effortless installation * No cables to buy * Save cabling time and hassle * Easy to expandAlso known as Wi-Fi, or Wireless Fidelity, wireless networks allow you to use your network devices anywhere in an office or home, even out on the patio. You can check your e-mail or surf the Internet on your laptop anywhere in your house. There is no need to drill holes in the wall and install Ethernet cables.
You can network anywhere – without wires. Outside your home, wireless networking is available in public “hotspots,” such as coffee shops, businesses, hotel rooms, and airports. This is perfect for those of you who do a lot of traveling. Learn more about hotspots… Linksys wireless routers are also equipped for wired connections – giving you the best of both worlds – connect wirelessly when you’d like to roam around your house, and connect wired when the utmost speed is important to you. For convenience and ease of use, wireless networking is the answer. Learn more about how wireless works… Why choose a wired network? | Wired networks have been around for decades. Wired networking technology found today is known as Ethernet. The data cables, known as Ethernet network cables or wired (CAT5) cables, connect computers and other devices that make up the networks. Wired networks are best when you need to move large amounts of data at high speeds, such as professional-quality multimedia. The benefits of having a wired network include: * Relatively low cost * Offers the highest performance possible * Fast speed – standard Ethernet cable up to 100Mbps. Faster speed – Gigabit Ethernet cable up to 1000Mbps. | omputer networks for the home and small business can be built using either wired or wireless technology. Wired Ethernet has been the traditional choice in homes, but Wi-Fiwireless technologies are gaining ground fast. Both wired and wireless can claim advantages over the other; both represent viable options for home and other local area networks (LANs). Below we compare wired and wireless networking in five key areas: * ease of installation * total cost * reliability * performance * security About Wired LANs
Wired LANs use Ethernet cables and networkadapters. Although two computers can be directly wired to each other using an Ethernet crossover cable, wired LANs generally also require central devices like hubs, switches, or routers to accommodate more computers. For dial-up connections to the Internet, the computer hosting the modem must run Internet Connection Sharing or similar software to share the connection with all other computers on the LAN. Broadband routers allow easier sharing of cable modem or DSL Internet connections, plus they often include built-in firewall support.
Installation Ethernet cables must be run from each computer to another computer or to the central device. It can be time-consuming and difficult to run cables under the floor or through walls, especially when computers sit in different rooms. Some newer homes are pre-wired with CAT5 cable, greatly simplifying the cabling process and minimizing unsightly cable runs. The correct cabling configuration for a wired LAN varies depending on the mix of devices, the type of Internet connection, and whether internal or external modems are used.
However, none of these options pose any more difficulty than, for example, wiring a home theater system. After hardware installation, the remaining steps in configuring either wired or wireless LANs do not differ much. Both rely on standard Internet Protocol and network operating systemconfiguration options. Laptops and other portable devices often enjoy greater mobility in wireless home network installations (at least for as long as their batteries allow). Cost Ethernet cables, hubs and switches are very inexpensive.
Some connection sharing software packages, like ICS, are free; some cost a nominal fee. Broadband routers cost more, but these are optional components of a wired LAN, and their higher cost is offset by the benefit of easier installation and built-in security features. Reliability Ethernet cables, hubs and switches are extremely reliable, mainly because manufacturers have been continually improving Ethernet technology over several decades. Loose cables likely remain the single most common and annoying source of failure in a wired network.
When installing a wired LAN or moving any of the components later, be sure to carefully check the cable connections. Broadband routers have also suffered from some reliability problems in the past. Unlike other Ethernet gear, these products are relatively new, multi-function devices. Broadband routers have matured over the past several years and their reliability has improved greatly. Performance Wired LANs offer superior performance. Traditional Ethernet connections offer only 10 Mbpsbandwidth, but 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet technology costs little more and is readily available.
Although 100 Mbps represents a theoretical maximum performance never really achieved in practice, Fast Ethernet should be sufficient for home file sharing, gaming, and high-speed Internet access for many years into the future. Wired LANs utilizing hubs can suffer performance slowdown if computers heavily utilize the network simultaneously. Use Ethernet switches instead of hubs to avoid this problem; a switch costs little more than a hub. Security For any wired LAN connected to the Internet, firewalls are the primary security consideration.
Wired Ethernet hubs and switches do not support firewalls. However, firewall software products like ZoneAlarm can be installed on the computers themselves. Broadband routers offer equivalent firewall capability built into the device, configurable through its own software. About Wireless LANs Popular WLAN technologies all follow one of the three main Wi-Fi communication standards. The benefits of wireless networking depend on the standard employed: * 802. 11b was the first standard to be widely used in WLANs. * The 802. 1a standard is faster but more expensive than 802. 11b; 802. 11a is more commonly found in business networks. * The newest standard, 802. 11g, attempts to combine the best of both 802. 11a and 802. 11b, though it too is more a more expensive home networking option. Installation Wi-Fi networks can be configured in two different ways: * “Ad hoc” mode allows wireless devices to communicate in peer-to-peer mode with each other. * “Infrastructure” mode allows wireless devices to communicate with a central node that in turn can communicate with wired nodes on that LAN.
Most LANs require infrastructure mode to access the Internet, a local printer, or other wired services, whereas ad hoc mode supports only basic file sharing between wireless devices. Both Wi-Fi modes require wireless network adapters, sometimes called WLAN cards. Infrastructure mode WLANs additionally require a central device called the access point. The access point must be installed in a central location where wireless radio signals can reach it with minimal interference. Although Wi-Fi signals typically reach 100 feet (30 m) or more, obstructions like walls can greatly reduce their range.
Cost Wireless gear costs somewhat more than the equivalent wired Ethernet products. At full retail prices, wireless adapters and access points may cost three or four times as much as Ethernet cable adapters and hubs/switches, respectively. 802. 11b products have dropped in price considerably with the release of 802. 11g, and obviously, bargain sales can be found if shoppers are persistent. Reliability Wireless LANs suffer a few more reliability problems than wired LANs, though perhaps not enough to be a significant concern. 802. 11b and 802. 1g wireless signals are subject to interference from other home applicances including microwave ovens, cordless telephones, and garage door openers. With careful installation, the likelihood of interference can be minimized. Wireless networking products, particularly those that implement 802. 11g, are comparatively new. As with any new technology, expect it will take time for these products to mature. Performance Wireless LANs using 802. 11b support a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 11 Mbps, roughly the same as that of old, traditional Ethernet. 02. 11a and 802. 11g WLANs support 54 Mbps, that is approximately one-half the bandwidth of Fast Ethernet. Furthermore, Wi-Fi performance is distance sensitive, meaning that maximum performance will degrade on computers farther away from the access point or other communication endpoint. As more wireless devices utilize the WLAN more heavily, performance degrades even further. Overall, the performance of 802. 11a and 802. 11g is sufficient for home Internet connection sharing and file sharing, but generally not sufficient for home LAN gaming.
The greater mobility of wireless LANs helps offset the performance disadvantage. Mobile computers do not need to be tied to an Ethernet cable and can roam freely within the WLAN range. However, many home computers are larger desktop models, and even mobile computers must sometimes be tied to an electrical cord and outlet for power. This undermines the mobility advantage of WLANs in many homes. Security In theory, wireless LANs are less secure than wired LANs, because wireless communication signals travel through the air and can easily be intercepted.
To prove their point, some engineers have promoted the practice of wardriving, that involves traveling through a residential area with Wi-Fi equipment scanning the airwaves for unprotected WLANs. On balance, though, the weaknesses of wireless security are more theoretical than practical. WLANs protect their data through the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption standard, that makes wireless communications reasonably as safe as wired ones in homes. No computer network is completely secure and homeowners should research this topic to ensure they are aware of and comfortable with the risks.
Important security considerations for homeowners tend to not be related to whether the network is wired or wireless but rather ensuring: * the home’s Internet firewall is properly configured * the family is familiar with the danger of Internet “spoof emails” and how to recognize them * the family is familiar with the concept of “spyware” and how to avoid it * babysitters, housekeepers and other visitors do not have unwanted access to the network Wired vs Wireless | Wired| Wireless|
Installation| moderate difficulty| easier, but beware interference| Cost| less| more| Reliability| high| reasonably high| Performance| very good| good| Security| reasonably good| reasonably good| Mobility| limited| outstanding| ad]There are two ways to connect a computer to a network: wired or wireless. Sometimes this will determine the kind of router you purchase, but fortunately today most offer both options. A wired connection requires an Ethernet cable be run between the router and your computer.
In a wireless connection, you use hardware in your computer to communicate with the router without that cable. Both have advantages and disadvantages so to help you pick the right one for you, here are 5 things to consider when deciding on a network connection. 1. Ease of Set-Up Wired connections are easier to set up. With most modern computers you can simply plug in the cable and get on the Net. Wireless requires configuring the router and at least one extra step on the computer’s side: searching for the correct network to connect to.
If you live in an apartment building in the city and go to connect to your network, you’ll probably see a dozen or more different possibilities. 2. Reliability and Speed Everybody who has used both wired and cordless home telephones knows how much more likely the cordless varieties are to pick up interference and experience problems of quality. The same can be true for wireless Internet. While hardware has improved over the years, other electrical devices can still potentially interfere with your Internet, in some cases causing disconnections and delays.
And like cordless phones, problems increase as you get farther away from the router. There are devices to fix such problems, but they can be costly and may require some trial and error. 3. Speed Wired is almost always faster than wireless, and never slower. This is due to the reliability issues mentioned above and to the technology itself, which simply hasn’t caught up to Ethernet-level quality. 4. Convenience Clearly wireless is more convenient on a day-to-day basis. Once it’s been set up, you can access the Internet from any computer in the vicinity of the router.
If you can run Ethernet cables throughout your house you can achieve a similar level of convenience while keeping the reliability and speed, but it’s a huge undertaking and may not even be possible if, for example, you rent an apartment. 5. Security This is arguably the most important of these points and the one too few give much thought. A wired network is fully contained. In order to connect to it, you must have physical access to the router. On the other hand, a wireless network is not contained. Your neighbors, people on the street, or those in the restaurant next door can all potentially find your network on their computers.
There are two reasons this should concern you. [ad#r]First, you don’t want people you don’t know using your Internet connection. It’ll be slower to you and any questionable actions they take online will be traced back to you, not to them. Second, it’s not difficult for a hacker to intercept data sent through an unsecured network. All of the banking, purchasing, and communication you do online could potentially be maliciously saved to a computer. You can imagine the possibilities for identity theft, credit card fraud, and so on.