As a business in today’s industry, you likely need to connect your computers to the Internet and even various cloud services. One way to do so is to set up a local area network (LAN). With a LAN, you can provide Internet service to computers located in a relatively small area, such as an office building. LANs can be wired or wireless. Wired LANs usually use Ethernet cables. Wireless LANs (WLANs) rely on wireless technology instead of cables.
But here’s the big difference that’s been happening in today’s business personal communication world: WLANs have become so prevalent in society that most people instinctively understand their benefits. However, wired LANs have advantages as well.
Consider this; the increasing number of wireless devices that are accessing mobile networks worldwide is one of the primary contributors to global mobile traffic growth. Each year several new devices in different form factors and increased capabilities and intelligence are introduced in the market. According to a recent Cisco report, this year we added phablets as a separate category to the device categories that we track.
More than half a billion (563 million) mobile devices and connections were added in 2015. In 2015, global mobile devices and connections grew to 7.9 billion, up from 7.3 billion in 2014. Globally, mobile devices and connections will grow to 11.6 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 8 percent.
By 2020, there will be 8.2 billion handheld or personal mobile-ready devices and 3.2 billion M2M connections (e.g., GPS systems in cars, asset tracking systems in shipping and manufacturing sectors, or medical applications making patient records and health status more readily available, et al.). Regionally, North America and Western Europe are going to have the fastest growth in mobile devices and connections with 22 percent and 14 percent CAGR from 2015 to 2020, respectively.
Given these trends in mobility – how do you deploy the right type of architecture? Do you work with wired technologies or wireless systems? The reality is that the vast majority of organizations will likely take a hybrid approach. Let’s understand why this is happening.
Wired LANs offer much faster web connection speeds than their wireless counterparts. They are also more reliable since you do not have to deal with issues like weak signal strength. Improved security is another advantage of a wired LAN. To break into one, hackers need to connect to a network switch, router, or computer before they can attempt to access the network. To access a WLAN, a hacker only has to intercept a wireless transmission and break its encryption. Although, modern WLAN security methodologies have come a long way and help support greater levels of intelligent security. Remember, even though wired LANs can offer better speed and dedicated connections – you lose some of the flexibility when it comes to roaming, connection freedom, and device interoperability that you can with WLANs.
- Use-cases: Workstations requiring constant access at high speeds, dedicated servers or other peripherals, dedicated LAN-based equipment, etc.
WLANs win when it comes to convenience. They are much easier to set up than wired LANs since they do not use any cables. They also offer a lot more flexibility. You can put your desktop computers and printers anywhere within range of the wireless signal. Perhaps most important, employees can connect to the WLAN with their mobile devices. WLANs have a few drawbacks, though. These networks can be slower and less secure than their wired counterparts. Still, new advancements in WLAN technologies allow administrators to integrate business intelligence, user tracking, and even optimization into the WLAN ecosystem. Most of all, new technologies create single points of management for distributed WLAN systems.
- Use-cases: Guest access, mobility initiatives/BYOD, digital signage, mobile workstations, mobile users, mobile peripherals, branch offices, etc.
Deploying Internet at the Office
To balance out the issues associated with wireless and wired LANs, businesses will often opt for both types of networks. This gives them the speed and reliability of a wired LAN for their desktop computers and the convenience of a WLAN for their mobile devices. Most of all – these systems give your business intelligence and user data which can positively impact your services and your users. Reach out to MTM Technologies to determine the best configuration that gives you the convenience you want and the security you need.
As wireless technologies aim to provide experiences formerly available only through wired networks, the next few years will be critical for operators, service providers, and modern businesses to plan future network deployments that will create an adaptable environment in which the multitude of mobile-enabled devices and applications of the future can be deployed