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Networking for Wireless, LAN and VPN
A network is a system of hardware and software, put together for the purpose of communication and resource sharing. A network includes transmission hardware, devices to interconnect transmission media and to control transmissions, and software to decode and format data, as well as to detect and correct problems. There are several types of Wireless and Wired network installation in use today. This chapter will focus on three of them:
1. LAN – Local Area Network
2. WAN – Wide Area Network
3. VPN – Virtual Private Network
The most widely deployed type of network, LANs were designed as an alternative to the more expensive point-to-point connection. A LAN has high throughput for relatively low cost. LANs often rely on shared media, usually a cable, for connecting many computers. This reduces cost. The computers take turns using the cable to send data.
To be considered a WAN, a network must be able to connect an arbitrary number of sites across an arbitrary distance, with an arbitrary number of computers at each site. In addition, it must have reasonable performance (no long delays) and allow all of the computers connected to it to communicate simultaneously. This is accomplished with packet switches.
VPNs are built on top of a publicly-accessible infrastructure, such as the Internet or the public telephone network. They use some form of encryption and have strong user authentication. Essentially a VPN is a form of WAN; the difference is their ability to use public networks rather than private leased lines. A VPN supports the same intranet services as a traditional Wireless and Wired network installation, but also supports remote access service. This is good for telecommuting, as leased lines don’t usually extend to private homes and travel destinations. A remote VPN user can connect via an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the usual way. This eliminates long-distance charges. The user can then initiate a tunnel request to the destination server. The server authenticates the user and creates the other end of the tunnel. VPN software encrypts the data, packages it in an IP packet (for compatibility with the Internet) and sends it through the tunnel, where it is decrypted at the other end. There are several tunneling protocols available: IP security (IPsec), Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP).
Structured Networking for Data Voice and Video Services
Structured cabling is building or campus telecommunications cabling infrastructure that consists of a number of standardized smaller elements called subsystems. Structured cabling design and installation is governed by a set of standards that specify wiring data, offices, and apartment buildings for data or voice communications using various kinds of cable, most commonly category 5e (CAT-5e), category 6 (CAT-6), and optic cabling and modular connectors. These standards define how to lay the cabling in various topologies in order to meet the needs of the customer, typically using a central patch panel(which is normally 19 inch rack-mounted), from where each modular connection can be used as needed. Each outlet is then patched into a network switch (normally also rack-mounted) for network use or into an IP or PBX (private branch exchange) telephone system patch panel.
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