The types of network installation come in two categories: the physical setting, such as home or office, new buildings or older construction; and the scope of the network’s shared communication, such as Local Area Network, Wide Area Network, Campus Area Network, etc.
In this blog, we’ll take a quick look at each of these two categories to help you find out how your location and network scope will affect your network installation.
Physical setting and network installation
Network installation in building
In other blogs, we’ve touched on the importance of cabling in network installation. Cables form the backbone of a wired network, and so the first question that arises in network installation is how easy or difficult it will be to put the cables in place.
Older buildings typically present more obstacles for network cable installation than newer buildings do. This is because many older buildings were built before wired Ethernet networks became commonplace, and so they don’t have the design features–hollow walls, drop ceilings, and so on.–that newer buildings do to accommodate cables. It’s not impossible to install cable in older buildings, but it may take special tools, small-scale renovations (such as cutting holes to pass cable through), and a longer timeline. These kinds of installations are best done by experts who have experience in older-building installations.
Often, the best time to install a network is when a structure is actually being built, or even when construction has been completed but no furniture or equipment is in place. This allows you or a network installation engineer to install hardware like cables and wall plates with ease since the walls are not totally closed off, and there is no furniture, printers, or machinery to get in the way.
However, network installations can also be done in fully functional, operational places of business. In this case, it’s important to plan out your network design and installation plan beforehand, and carefully time the disruption, so that the installation can proceed without any problems or delays that might inconvenience the business further.
But what about network installations in a residential building?
Network installation at home
Network installations at home are increasingly common as remote work and freelancing are changing the landscape of the workplace. A wired home network often provides a better working experience than a wireless network:
- More stable connection
- Wider bandwidth for file exchange, video conferencing
- Less lag or downtime
- Better network security
Home network installations are generally on a smaller scale than commercial installation: the typical home installation connects a server to data ports in one to four rooms. There is a certain amount of disruption, but because the scale of the project is small in comparison to most networks, this type of installation is relatively quick and easy.
You can also add a Wi-Fi booster onto a wired network, which then makes it possible to wirelessly link tablets, laptops, and Internet of Things devices into your wired home network.
Regardless of the age or type of building that the installation takes place in, networks for business and homes come in different forms depending on their objectives and design. We’ll talk about these in the second half of the article.
LAN, WAN, CAN, and more: Types of network installation
Now we move on to the second category of network installation types: communication structures. Different network needs call for specific types of network communication, and different structures call for different network installation schemes.
LAN: Local Area Network
This type of network is extremely common. As the name implies, a LAN network connects a group of devices through a shared server and within a limited geographic area–typically a house, school, office, or library.
LANs are private networks that are not subject to regulation, aside from the general laws of their locality. These networks are sometimes entirely based on a wireless connection, but wired Ethernet LANs are more reliable and useful thanks to the bandwidth and stability inherent in wired networks.
WAN: Wide Area Network
You’re using a WAN right now, in the form of the Internet! Wide Area Networks connect computers and other devices over a widespread geographical area through a shared communication path.
Many WANs are groups of smaller LANs communicating with each other, as in the case of some global businesses or industries that use shared platforms to collaborate and connect.
CAN: Campus Area Network
As the name implies, a Campus Area Network or CAN is primarily used by colleges, universities, and schools to connect each of their buildings and locations through a shared network. CANs allow faculty, students, and employees to exchange files and information easily without hopping onto a WAN, which might experience latency.
A CAN is like a WAN in that it’s basically a group of LANs working together to create a larger network across distance. CANs, however, span a distance of up to several miles, while WANs cover hundreds and even thousands of miles.
SAN: Storage Area Network
This specialized type of network allows high-speed access to stored data. SANs provide a shared, centralized storage space for networks that provides a number of benefits:
- More consistent data protection
- High data security
- High performance flash memory
- Low latency
- Cost-effective data storage
In a way, a SAN is a network behind a network, as it focuses exclusively on memory and data storage as opposed to internet access or inter-device communication.
SAN: System Area Network
This second type of SAN is a System Area Network, which takes the outline and foundation of a LAN, and adds high-performance computers. System Area Networks have hardware features and software configurations that make them capable of handling complex tasks and high levels of information transfer at very high data speeds.
SANs offer the highest network performance to those businesses and industries that need it, but not every business needs a network with this much power.
HAN: Home Area Network
A Home Area Network connects multiple devices within a residential building onto a shared communication pathway. This could be as simple as a wired connection for two computers plus a printer, plus a Wi-Fi booster for smartphones, or as advanced as a house-wide network for smart appliances and digital devices to share info.