Office Networking 101

So you are a busy executive or business owner.  You don’t have time to deal with all the Information Technology issues or IT jargon, but are faced with decisions that impact your business.  How do you sift through the techie speak and get to informed decisions that make sense for your bottom line?   This brief overview will present some common technology terms that will help empower your decision making.

The first term is LAN.  This stands for local area network.  Basically a LAN is the connection point for all personal computers, printers, phones and other peripherals that may be used in your business.  Computers connect to the LAN either through a wired connection that plugs directly into a network device or through a wireless connection over the air utilizing radio waves.

Once connected to the LAN the computer or other devices communicate through a networking device called a switch or in older networks a hub.  Both devices essentially perform the same function, however switches segment computer traffic and reduce overhead which provides more efficient and faster throughput.

Connectivity to computing resources outside of the office or between offices is provided through a WAN or Wide Area Network.   WANs are typically comprised of circuits, routers, firewalls, and modems.  Circuits provide connectivity to resources that exist outside of the office such as Internet websites and other office locations.  The typical small to mid-sized business utilizes the Internet for its circuit connectivity.   Internet circuits can utilize cable, DSL, T1 or other methods.  Circuits can be delivered over copper or fiber networks.  Most small business use either DSL or cable, as do small home networks.  FIOS is a fiber service provided by Verizon.

Circuits connect to the customer network through either a modem or router.  Routers are typically employed where there are multiple circuits acting as a device that determines which circuit to utilize to access the requested information.  Modems are typically used to terminate single circuits.  The final component is a firewall.  Firewalls segment traffic that enters and exits the office infrastructure and are a keystone device in protecting your business by blocking unwanted traffic and improving information security.

To find out more please visit Network Management Solutions at

You’ll find:  clear, concise overviews of obvious and unseen IT workplace problems and risks.  Self-assessment quizzes, evaluation checklists, and a wealth of information to help you reduce cost, improve service, and benefit both you and your business.