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A LAN (local area network) refers to a network or networks that connect computers or other peripheral devices in an area that is physically limited, for instance, offices, businesses, or colleges, through permanent network cables or wires. The major components of a LAN are a server, client computer, NIC, NOS and network cables. The server includes the computer found in the network that is shared by many users. The client computer is a machine that directs the network from the device that supplies it, in other words, the server. The network interface card is a circuit board that is used to plug cables into the server or client computers. It performs the functions of the data link protocol, for instance, the Ethernet and LocalTalk. The network cable connects computers physically, while the network operating system is a program that controls the whole process and the network, and is found on the server of the workstation. Network hubs provide the easiest way to connect fiber network cables and act as amplifiers of the network. Wireless LANs are an alternative of the cabling local area network, and due to this, they are essential in situations, where wiring is expensive and difficult.
The most suitable kind of LAN that can be used in a CPA firm is the network cable or wired LAN. It is due to the requirement of this firm to have a faster transmitting network. As compared to a wireless LAN, this one transmits 1000 megabytes per second and makes use of Ethernet cables that can be placed hundreds of feet from the server without weakening or losing the signal. Another advantage of this kind of network is the ease of sharing resources, the low cost of setting up it, and its flexibility in the process of expanding, as well as reliability, when it comes to operations. Besides, its maintenance is simple and less costly. This network is not affected by devices that use airwaves to function, for instance, microwaves (Shipley, 2003).
Connections and Future Expansion
In order to ensure that every department has fast access to the LAN, the most suitable connection mode is a ring topology. It is because with the help of this kind of structure, it is not possible to have cables placed in the central location running to all individual blocks. Then, departments can be connected to each other directly using fiber cables, where multiple switches are interconnected in the ring structure (Shipley, 2003).
In the case of the future expansion, the network can be tapped from interconnections without having to connect to the server. Another simple option is using or adding a router or ports to the blocks. It is less costly, since no changes will be made. The way to implement this is through interconnected links. A network cable will be run from the already installed router and will be plugged into a switch. Every such cable will contain the same network. It will increase the ease of sharing the network between the departments of the firm at very low costs (Shane, 2012).
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The best way to keep a LAN running all the time is through having a network administrator. The latter will be responsible for maintaining the LAN. It will involve constituent checking up of the systems and renewing licenses, upgrading the LAN software in computers, creating backups and network consistency to ensure that there is continuity, even when the network fails, monitoring the performance of the LAN, and installing hardware and software in order to ensure security (Shipley, 2003).
Having looked at all options, the most suitable LAN network to use is a wired cable one, since it is reliable if well-maintained. It provides flexibility during expansion and is not easily affected by other networks.
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