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Wired Network System

Wired LANs (Local Area Networks) use Ethernet cables and network adapters.

 There are two ways to set up a LAN system:

  • Broadband routers often provide DSL Internet connections and because they normally have additional facilities that allow direct connections for a shared printer or server.

  • Two computers can be directly wired to each other using an Ethernet crossover cable.

  • Using a central device or devices like a router, hubs, switches to connect more than two computers, servers, or printers.

Installation

  • Ethernet cables must run from the router to each computer, printer, or server. It can be costly, laborious, and messy to run cables through a house, either under the floor or through walls, especially if you have an old Victorian house like mine. Even in newer houses chasing out the walls for cables or taking up the floorboards can take some time and be very messy. Luckily for some people, newer homes are often being pre-wired with CAT5 cables and RJ-45 sockets. These are wired sockets ready to accept your cables.

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  • If you are willing to put in the time and mess, it is a simple matter to fit CAT5 cables and RJ-45 sockets. We will explore what is needed and how to achieve this later.

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  • Once the hardware has been installed the configuration of the wired or wireless LANs are similar. Both rely on standard Internet Protocol (IP) and network operating system configuration options. These will be discussed later.

Cost

In this age of financial constraints, the cost is the biggest denominator when deciding whether to opt for a wired or wireless network. 

If your computer, router, and printer are in proximity a wired system will cost little more than a wireless option. Most Internet providers supply a free router, Ethernet cable and with ADSL a filter with your package. Because of this you only need to buy an additional CAT5 cable to connect your printer. Of course, you can bypass this requirement by connecting your printer via a USB cable.

If you only require a cable, CAT 5 Cable – prices vary depending on the length, but you can expect to pay between £2.50 and £6.00 for a 5-metre length. 

For installing a fitted wired system, the cost will be higher as you will need for each outlet:

  1. RJ45 RJ11 Cat5 Network Tool Kit Cable Tester Crimp Lan - £18.50

  2. Cat 5 Single Socket RJ45 Ethernet Network Face Plate - £2.00

  3. Wall box for faceplate - £2.00

  4. RJ45 Connector Network Cable CAT5 Crimp Ends Plugs x 10 - £1.00.

  5. Ethernet CCA Cable Roll Network LAN Solid UTP CAT5e-CCA Grey 100m - £10.00

These prices do not usually very much. I buy my stuff from Amazon and a local electrical outlet.

Reliability

Ethernet cables, routers, and switches are exceptionally reliable, mostly due to the manufacturer’s commitment to improving Ethernet technology. Ethernet technology is an ever-expanding structure and companies are continuously funding research into improving the communications systems. A great deal of advancements has occurred during the past few years in the wireless arena, and this has been directed because of the need to strengthen security and improve wireless systems. 

With cabled systems, if you take time to fasten cables and making sure the wires in the RJ-45 boxes are wired correctly and secure will help eliminate problems with wired networks.

I have had several Broadband routers fail, so reliability is still an on-going concern. If this occurs contact your Broadband provider and they should replace it for you, or you can buy a better model.

Wired networks are more reliable, faster, and secure than their wireless counterparts.

Performance

Despite the improvements of wireless routers over the past few years wired LANs still provide better performance and reliability over wireless systems. In the past, wired Ethernet connections have increased from 10 Mbps bandwidth to 100 Mbps and now 1000Mbps is now commonplace.

Wired LANs using a hub might sustain performance slowdown if several computers, servers, or printers are heavily using the network at the same time. To help prevent this use Ethernet switches.

Security

Routers come with Firewall software installed. Because of this when wired networks (LANs) are connected to the Internet the Firewall will provide an element of security. 

However, wired Ethernet hubs and switches do not have firewalls.

To help protect your computer from Intrusion, Trojans, and Viruses you will need antivirus and firewall software installed on your computer. I use ESET and Malwarebytes, there are free alternatives, but I find the free options significantly less secure and reliable. Nearly all the infected computers I worked on in the industry had free versions and the removal of the risk and preventing data loss always cost more than purchasing the paid anti-virus and malware software combined.

Although Broadband routers have firewalls installed, these are not reliable so do not rely on this alone to protect your computers.

KEEP the antivirus and malware software updated on a regular basis, as new threats come onto the web daily.