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The concept of Workstation:

The concept of Workstation Networking – two or more computers are physically linked through wires or wirelessly cables and these computers linked together form the basic network thus allowing sending over- and receiving data or information from within and among computers linked together- a small network so to speak.

Computer Networks:

Computer Networks Computer Network - refers to a number of computers and peripherals interconnected so as to share information and resources. A network - may be made up of computers, printers, scanners, or other compatible devices. Node - each device in the network.

Two Generic Types of Computer Networks:

Two Generic T ypes of Computer Networks Dedicated Network - is a setup in which one or more computers are set aside as servers that are used only to support client terminals. Peer-to-Peer Network - is a connection in which computers share resources with each workstation being either a client or a server.

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Computers linked into the networks classified as: Wired - are those connected together using standard telephone wires, network cable, Ethernet cable, coaxial cable or the more advanced fiber optic cables. Wireless – are those computers linked up by way of infrared technologies and use of radio frequencies using the theories and principles of Wi-Fi or bluetooth technology which are discussed further in detail in the chapter devoted for mobile commerce.

Reasons for Networking:

Reasons for Networking Sharing of peripherals and accessories – By networking, unnecessary expenses can be avoided such as having one printer or scanner for each computer unit. Sharing data files – With networking, data and files need not be installed in all computer units but instead kept or stored in dedicated units which can be made accessible to other authorized users.

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Sharing applications – Nowadays, many application programs or software are designed for networked environment such as groupware, electronic mail software, and multi-user database software . Reduced cost in acquiring, installing and maintaining software – Acquiring, installing and maintaining application software is much less in a network environment as compared to installing software to each individual workstation.

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Connectivity to other networks – Connecting to other networks through the organization’s network can save money because hardware and software needed to make the connection to other networks can be spread over all the workstations on the network. Capturing data at its source – A network permits the use of remote terminals in sales, offices, factory production lines, cars and even on customer’s premises as well as suppliers of the business organization .

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Increased productivity – Given a networked environment, employees of the business organization minimize physically roaming around to know inventory levels or deal with other offices or other units of the organization as mouse and keyboards can take the place of this kind of work thus promoting productivity and efficiency at the workplace.

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Permit expansion – Organizations that expand by purchasing or constructing facilities at other locations can avail of the power of networking. Increasing timely communications – With networking, data and documents in digital formats can be distributed quickly to any location thereby aiding decision-making jobs with dispatch. Increased management control – Networked environment allows instant feedback to management thus promoting closer or tighter control of subordinates and management of other resources of the firm.

Basic Network Components and Terminologies:

Basic Network Components and Terminologies File server - is a device or unit containing files available to all users connected to a LAN. Router – also referred to as switches, essentially refers to network elements or devices that physically route or serve as traffic guides on matters of information flow or movement. Bridge – is a computer that links two or more computers forming part of the network. Gateway – is another computer that links two or more dissimilar computers in the networks. Backbon e – is the telecommunication medium that is usually high-speed coming in the form of fiber optic cabling.

Local Area Network:

Local Area Network Local Area network (LAN ) – is an interconnection of computers and related devices (e.g., printers, fax machines and storage devices) within an office, series of offices in a building, or buildings on campus or a company’s compound. LAN topology – is a form of interconnection that describes its shape or form and data routes or path. Bus network – all nodes share a common communication line or bus. This means that computers connected to a node pass through a single cable line that unifies them and data or information flows through it. Star network – each node is linked to central machine for example, a local telephone service provider operates a star network with the central office in the middle. Ring network – the nodes form a ring, with messages moving around the ring from node to node.

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Mesh network – is a form of link up which in a in a way appears similar to a ring network with a variation. Computers and devices are directly linked to one another similar to a ring network but also allow a direct link up across other computers. Hierarchical network – there is a sort of series connection among some computers such that information flow or data from one computer necessitates passing through one unit before it gets through other units.

Wide Area Network:

Wide Area Network Wide Area Network – this is an interconnection among companies, industries or sector as well as government institutions and other bodies across regions, states, countries or even continents.

Intranet and Extranet:

Intranet and Extranet Intranet - is essentially a LAN that is simply the organization-wide software and information distribution system that applies Internet technology to a closed network within the organization. Extranet – is an intranet with extension that allows clearly identified customer or top suppliers to reach and access company related technical and educational information.

Applications of Intranet and Extranet:

Applications of Intranet and Extranet Electronic commerce or business Customer service Reduced time to market Enhanced knowledge sharing Enhanced group decision and business process

Advantages of Intranet:

Advantages of Intranet Speed, effectiveness, and relatively low cost Elimination of time and space barriers Can use existing infrastructure Ease of use Enhance productivity

Disadvantages of intranet:

Disadvantages of intranet Information and hyperlinks need to be continually updated Technology is continually changing and must be updated often Technical support is needed to maintain the system Security is a critical issue Access is an issue

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