Context of the problem
Home networks are a recent computing ideology that most of end users prefer contrary to the public computer networks. With the ever increasing need to have access to the internet and telecommuting, individuals are being compelled to set up home networks that can guarantee access to the internet for the purposes of working, education and leisure. Apart from having access to the internet, home networks can be used to offer services such as file and printer sharing.
The challenge in setting up a home network is that in most cases, there is no dedicated technician that can troubleshoot the network in cases of failures. Reports indicate that most of home networks are set up by an expert, or the internet service provider after which they leave the system for the end user. It is notable that third parties such as the internet service providers and the outsourced technicians are usually not available during cases of network failure.
Computers, just like other machines do not guarantee 100 per cent functionality, and so is the associated computer network. This implies that network breakdowns can occur at any time and in an unpredictable manner. Such network breakdowns can be as a result of diverse factors such poor network configurations, lack of knowledge by the end user concerning the various ways of gaining access to the network and other diverse causes that may impair the functionality of a network, which may be user oriented or hardware oriented.
This research paper will attempt to identify the various problems associated with the home networks. In addition the paper will also investigate the extent to which home network users can tackle such problems. This is imperative in ensuring that effective measures are put in place to combat home network problems.
Research Design and Methodology
Research approaches are primarily based on the structure of the research questions. This paper aims at evaluating the effectiveness of a wireless network in comparison to a wired network. The research will basically use secondary resources in attempt to have an in depth analysis of the research questions and attempt to relate them with the problems associated with home networks.
It is evident that wireless communication is one of the recent technologies in comparison to wired technologies; this implies that it has improved efficiency and effectiveness in comparison to the traditional wired networks. A wireless network can be viewed as a computer network whose interconnections does not comprise of cables (Deal, 2008). With the ever increasing need to have a dynamic computing environment, whereby end users can have access to the internet irrespective of their location, wireless computer networks comes in handy to offer the solution in that context. Wired networks are static and the end users are limited to the distance under which the cable can reach.
In some cases, wired networks are more beneficial compared to wired networks. For instance, in cases where there is no need to broadcast and access to that particular network is limited, wired networks are more effective since they only offer limited access points, which is the terminals of the cables. In terms of network performance, wireless networks outdo wired networks since they incorporate most of the latest technologies such as Wi-Fi, WI-Max that are faster, reliable and provide efficient avenues to access the internet. Basing on the above, it is evident that wireless network are more beneficial compared to wired networks in terms of efficiency and reliability (Yan et al, 2008).
Any network, whether wired or wireless, requires hardware for implementation. Differences are evident only when deploying the different types of hardware. For instance the use of wireless networks eliminates the need to interconnect workstation computers using cables. The hardware used in the implementation of a wireless network depends on the scope of the wireless network and the need to have multiple access points.
Typically, a small Wireless LAN only requires a wireless broadcasting equipment such as a wireless radio which can serve as a broadcasting channel through which the workstation computers can be connected by use of a device that is capable of detecting the signal transmitted by the Wireless radio. In order to facilitate mobility of the end users, the wireless LAN has to deploy spread spectrum technologies whereby the users can access the network irrespective of their position within the network (Harold, 2004). A Wi-Fi can be used to implement this technology. The basic infrastructure of a wireless LAN incorporates the use of wireless adapters in the host machines and a wireless transmitting radio.
Wireless LAN that use Wi-Fi are advantageous because they offer wide area of coverage and are not affected significantly by obstacles, in addition, they are not dependent on issues such as line of sight. Wireless LANs are more cost effective compared to wired LANs due to the elimination of hardware such as cables and central switches. It is also imperative to note that a wireless LAN is more effective in terms of signal transmission since there are fewer distortions associated with attenuation as in the case of Wired LANs (Briere & Hurley, 2010).
One of the significant benefits associated with Wi-Fi networks is scalability; this means that the host machines can be varied as required provided the bandwidth is kept in check, otherwise the functionality of the network is impaired in consideration to variables such as network speed and availability. Workstation PCs and other devices that can detect the Wi-Fi signal usually connects to a Wi-Fi network through the use Wireless access points, in the context of home networks, access is gained through the use of a wireless router. According to the router specifications, different devices can have access to the home network.
Standard limitation is known to be 255 devices, the limitation being brought about by the exhaustion of Internet Protocol (IP) address that can be assigned to a single wireless broadcasting device. This limitation due to the use of IP version 4, which can only support 18 bit addresses. Recent improvements have seen the development of IP version 6, which can support to a maximum of 16 bit addresses, thereby increasing the number of IP addresses that can be allocated to devices in Wi-Fi network.
For a Wi-Fi network to function effectively, not all the IP addresses have to be used since it will cause issues relating to the network load. A solution to this problem is to install multiple access points in a Wi-Fi network so as to distribute the load that would impair the functionality of the network, if it were to have a single access point (Deal, 2008).
The use of two routers in a home network serves primarily to increase the access points in that particular network. Basically, the deployment of two routers in network serves to increase the network performance and the network security. Routers also provide an effective way of expanding the home network, while at the same time eliminating the burden associated with network load. Multiple routers a network provide an effective way of segmenting the home network.
Network segmentation offers an effective approach to network management since each segment can be configured differently according to the requirements of the users under the each segment. One of the recent trends in home networking is the need to integrate wired networks with wireless networks, the only effective way of establishing a hybrid network is the use of multiple routers. One router can host the wired network while the other router can be used to host the wireless network. Wireless and wired hybrid networks can be used in increasing the current capability of the network through integrating of both the benefits associated with wired and wireless networks (Meyer, 2003).
There are network scenarios that practically demand the use of two routers, for instance, it is not practical to have long Ethernet cables from the parent router in cases where the host machines are far from the router. A solution to such a problem is the linking of two routers, where a secondary router is connected to a primary router resulting to the creation of a totally different network segment. Generally, the use of multiple routers in a home network plays a significant role in the solution of problems related with network security, network performance, network scalability and provision of network interactivity (Briere & Hurley, 2010).
An infrastructure mode in Wi-Fi network provides connectivity between the wireless network and a wired network that uses Ethernet cables. One of the significant advantages associated with Wi-Fi infrastructure mode is that it offers a single point of connection for both the clients under the WLAN network. One of the key requirements during the implementation of infrastructure mode Wi-Fi networking is a Wireless Access Point. In order to effectively join a Wide LAN, the Access Points and all the clients under the wireless network are set up to use the same Service Set Identifier (SSID). SSID serves as the network name under the LAN and be encrypted in order to limit its access.
The Access Points for the wireless host machines are then connected to an Ethernet Wired Network in order to allow the wireless hosts to have access to network resources such as network drives, network printers and other network resources. Using a common SSID can facilitates the addition of wireless Access Points to the Wide LAN, thereby increasing the access of the network infrastructure and facilitating the network to support as a large number of wireless networks (Deal, 2008).
Therefore, the advantages associated with the use of infrastructure mode Wi-Fi home networking includes increased network security which can be fostered by the encryption of the SSID, increased network scalability since the WLAN can provide support to a large number of wireless hosts, enhanced network management platforms since the it provides avenues for disowning network devices and managing the connectivity of the hosts under the SSID. The drawback associated with networking infrastructure is associated additional costs of hardware acquisition (Meyer, 2003).
Briere, D., & Hurley, P. (2010). Wireless Home Networking For Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Deal, R. (2008). Cisco Certified Network Associate study guide (exam 640-802). New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Harold, D. (2004). Absolute beginner’s guide to Wi-Fi wireless networking. New York: Que Publishing.
Meyer, M. (2003). Mike Meyers’ A+ Guide to PC Hardware. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Yan, Z., Jun, Z., & Miao, M. (2008). Handbook of research on wireless security. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc (IGI).