Organizations have been faced with the need to provide connectivity or network within the same premises or in offices that are in different geographical locations. Some have also had to set up networks to help connect the employees whose duties involve a lot of movement to the facilitate access of required data in the headquarters. This has been done by setting up Wide Area Networks and Local Area Networks in the organization. In order to fully understand how these networking systems are done, WAN and LAN technologies must be understood first since they are the two main technologies used to facilitate networking in most organizations and corporations.
Local Area Network refers to the connection or networking of several computers and devices in limited area such as a building. It involves connecting a server to the same network that connects all the users ‘computers. This provides the networked computers with a similar subnet on their IP address. It is this subnet that the user enables the users in that local area network to access the server and perform networked tasks. The server is connected to databases that store all the required files belonging to the company. The users are therefore able to access this information through the subnet availed at the user ends of the network.
Local Area Networks are normally owned, controlled and managed by a single person or organization. Ethernet and token ring are some of the widely used LAN technologies. These networks are generally secure and do not have high maintenance costs due to their locality (Hughes& Blair, 2006).
Wide Area Network
This is a collection of computers and network sources that are interlinked and connected over a wide geographical area. This may be between the headquarters of an organization and its remote officers or its clients in a different geographical location.
Operation of WAN
WAN operates in two ways. This network connection can be wired or effective. In a wired WAN connection, the company has to physically run cables between its offices in the different geographical locations to a central hub. The cables are then connected to a LAN. This kind of networking is very expensive and time consuming. The cost of buying and fixing of the cables between the different locations is very high.
The second option is the virtually operated WAN. This is an option that entails creation of a virtual private network by the company. The virtual networks are popularly known as VPNS. These VPNs give data when the user computer requests it. This is the kind of network that can be able to sever a organization with remote office located in a different locality.
The virtual Private networks use technologies such as X.25, Frame Relay, and ATM as well as for their connectivity (Hughes& Blair, 2006).
ATM technology is a connectivity strategy used in WAN that uses point to point connection and thus facilitating direct flow of data in that network. Frame Relay technology on the other hand is a protocol that is used to transfer data over fiber optic lines. Another technology used is the X.25 which is a standard suite protocol that is used for packet data switching purposes. This technology works on physical, data links and network layers that are usually ISO modeled (Hughes& Blair, 2006).
WAN connection is therefore the best way to connect the organization question to its remote offices.
Designing the WAN
In order to set up the WAN, the company will have to develop a Virtual Private Network(VPN).The VPN will have a main LAN at the organization’s headquarters and another LAN at the office in the remote location. Unlike in wired connection or in cases where WAN connection is facilitated through the use of cables, the WAN design for this organization will be run on a public network (internet).some WANS are connected by lease lines such as Integrated Digital Network or Optical Carrier-3.Even though the leased line operated WAN are reliable and secure, the cost of set up and maintenance is usually very high making the e use of the internet the better choice (Nasser.2000).
There are two types of VPNs that can be used namely Remote Access and Site to Site VPN. The Remote Aces VPN will be suitable for this organization as it will allow user to LAN connection. Remote-access VPNs will allow secure, encrypted connections between an organization`s private network and remote users aided by a third party internet service provider. The operation of this kind of VPN requires the company or organization set up a dial up network set up. The organization will provide internet dial up account to its workers both at the headquarters and at the remote offices suing an Internet Service Provider (ISP).After accessing the internet the telecommuter will the use the VPN software to access the organizations network hence connecting the two locations.
The plan for setting up the network is shown below
When a user in the remote officers wants to access data stored or available in the headquarters, he or she will have to make sure that the computer or device in use is connected to the LAN in the remote office. This LAN is the one that is then connected to the LAN in the headquarters. The system operates by a simple process that is referred to as client-server communication. Here the user computer or device will ask the server for information from its file and the server delivers the requested information. The request forwarded determines the data that is delivered. When the data requested is in the central drive in the headquarters, the server in the remote area uses the organization’s VPN to access the file and returns feedback through the same channel.
Receiving of Data
The servers that receive requests from the end users will process the request and deliver the right information as soon as it locates the file. When the servers on the remotes side is requested to deliver data or files in the headquarter file drive, it uses the VPN connectivity to establish communication with the server on the other end. The server on the headquarters then locates the requested file and then returns feedback containing the requested data to the remote office server. It is the remote office server that will then provide or avail that file or information to the user that had requested for it.
The servers at both end, that is the headquarter server and remote office server function as search engines. These servers access the organizations databases in their respective LANs and retrieve the request. For this particular organization with several users both at the headquarters and in the remote location, the use of multiple servers will be prudent. This will enable the users to access the information that they require with ease. In addition to that, it will make the WAN connection fast and reliable.
In order to fully set up a working, secure and efficient WAN for the organization; VPN will have to be set up. This will be the used to access company data both from the headquarters and the remote offices. Public network will then be used to link the remote offices to the headquarter of the organization
Nasser. (2000). Network Performance Base lining. Indianapolis.MTP
Hughes, J& Blair, W (2006) novel`s Guide to Netware 6 Networks. London: Greenwood Press.
Cahn, R. S. (1998). Wide area network design: concepts and tools for optimization. San
Francisco, Calif.: Morgan Kaufmann.