A2 ICT - Topic 1: Networks

  • Created by: Dan 8888
  • Created on: 19-02-16 15:20

Choosing a Network for a Company

Factors which Influence the Choice of a Network

Cost of Network -> Cost of server, cabling, software and third party communication services -> Very costly for a small organisation

 Size of Organisation -> Large organisations can have lots of users in different parts of the world, resulting in high communication costs -> Size of business also determines whether a LAN or WAN is more suitable

How the System will be Used ->For example, big retailers will need LANs set up in every store connected to each other so a WAN is created

Existing Systems -> Networks have to work with the existing ones -> Have to comply with hardware and software and ensure that you don't include too many new features if staff understand the current system

Performance Required ->Will determine the way which the computers and hardware are connected and the type of server required -> High performance will be fast, reliable, cheap and easy to use

Security Issues ->Procedures need to be enrolled to prevent hackers from doing wrong -> Security requirements will differ for different organisations e.g. School will need to think about students accessing bad sites whereas businesses will need to think about how to ensure that payments are secure

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Types of Networks Available and the Use of Associa

Peer-to-peer (P2P) Networking:

- Networks where each computer has the same status and they can communicate with each other

- Any computer can be used to access all the resources on the other computers

- Home networks use this type of network

Advantages: Cost saving, no network manager required, easy set-up, peer responsibility

Disadvantages: No central backups, users need more IT knowledge, poorer security

Client-server Networking:

- Used for larger networks

- Computers aren't of equal status and a more powerful computer is used as the central computer (called the server and other computers are called clients) -> Network manager required

Advantages: Better security, central backups, faster access and centralised data

Disadvantages: More expensive, specialist knowledge required, and when server is broken it cannot be used

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Types of Networks and Use of Associated Hardware C

Network Topologies

- This is where devices can be set-up in lots of different ways -> Shows how computers ae connected when wires are used and how devices communicate with each other (if wireless)

Ring Topology ->It is a p2p network, all the computers are arrranged in a circular shape and data is passed around it until it gets to the computer it is looking for

Advantages: Doesn't need a central computer, each computer has the same access (not just one taking up all of the network)

Disadvantages: If there is one single break in the connection, the whole network crashes, the faults are difficult to locate and it is impossible to keep the network running when equipment is added or removed

Bus Topology -> All the devices are connected to a shared cable called the backbone

Advantages: Cost effective, easy to install and easy to add new devices to it

Disadvantages: Performance starts to deteriorate after more than approximately 12 devices are connected and if there is a break in the backbone then it cannot be used at all

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Types of Networks and Use of Associated Hardware C

Star Topology -> Uses a connection point which is central to connect all of the devices on the network together (the central connection point can be a hub, switch or router)


- It can cope with faults

- It can cope with lots of computers

- It is quite simple to add extra computers


- There is a higher cost due to more cabling

- There is a lot of dependence on the central hub, switch or router because if they fail then the entire network will too

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Types of Networks and Use of Associated Hardware C

Wireless Networking:

- Data transfer medium is the air where the radio waves travel

- Places where you can access the Internet via Wi-Fi are called hotspots

- Need a broadband connection to the Internet, router, Wi-Fi enable computers to set up a small Wi-Fi network

- How it Works -> Router is connected to Internet by broadband connection, router receives data from the Internet, transmits data as a radio signal via an antenna and computer's wireless adapter picks up the signal and turns it into data which the computer understands (Reverse order for sending data)

Advantages: Can set up cheap LANs without cables, can work anywhere you can receive a signal, good for networks in old buildings and you can use it really all over the world

Disadvantages: High power consumption, security problems, limited range and interference can occur

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Software Components

Networking Sofware:

Network Operating Systems Software:- Examples include UNIX, Linux and Novell Netware

Network Management Software:

- Helps in looking after lots of computers in a network

- Ensures that every computer has up-to-date software with latest security patches

- Checks there are licenses for all software currently being used

- Finds out if a user has installed non-liscensed software etc.

- Checks if bandwidth is being used in the right way

- Checks speed of processor and memory used for a specific computer

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Software Components Continued...

User Accounts and Logs:

User Accounts:

- Set up by network administrator or network manager

- Allocates the user specific rights

- All users are allowed to change their password, desktop settings and manage their own files

- Person's responsibility controlling the network to have a say on which software users can access and which shared files they can access, whether they can copy files and whether they can install software

User Logs:

- User uses username and password to log in and then network resources are given to them by the system and they can log out when finished -> Can give details of who has used what through a user log

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Software Components Continued...

Security Strategies

- User passwords and user IDs

- Virus checkers

- Firewalls

- Encryption

Configuration Management

- Process where information about a network is organised and maintained

- The network manager will look to the network configuration database when deciding what way is best to modify a network

- The NC database holds all details about locations and network addresses of hardware devices utilised in the network as well as other details about the programs

Advantages: Easier to repair, expand or upgrade the network, network will run faster, network security will be optimised

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Software Components Continued...

Remote Management

- Can be used to see which users are using the network, check on e-mails being sent, check on the Internet sites visited, see if parts of the network are failing, guide users through problems they may be having etc.

Disaster Planning

- Needed to minimse disruption caused

- Needed to get systems working again quickly

- Needed to make sure that staff are informed of what they must do to recover data, etc.

Backup - Should be done on a regular basis, kept off-site preferably

Restoration - Should check that data can be restored, should be mock disaster recoveries

Auditing (Keeping Logs)

- Keeps records of usernames, amount of times logged on and off, programs used, files accessed and changes made -> Used to identify abuse and unauthorised access

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