1.4 Purpose and Limitations of Networking
Purpose and Limitations of Networking
Purpose of Networking
Computer networking has various purposes which include:
resource sharing, remote communication, distributed processing facilities, cost effectiveness and reliability.
Anything available on the same network environment is referred to as a resource this include: printers, fax machines, data/information, modems, files etc.
Resource sharing is the idea of computers sharing resources in a common network. For example: in a computer lab, all computers can be able to share the same printer or scanner. Also information can be shared in all computers
Remote communication refers to the transmission of data signals between two communication devices located at different locations. A computer that tries to access resources from another computer on the network is called a remote client while the computer being accessed is called a remote host.
Remote communication has been made possible by use of wireless transmission media such as radio waves, microwave and satellite
Distributed Processing Facilities
Distributed data processing is a computer-networking method in which multiple computers across different locations share computer-processing capability. This is in contrast to a single, centralized server managing and providing processing capability to all connected systems. Computers that comprise the distributed data-processing network are located at different locations but interconnected by means of wireless or satellite links.
Files reside on the user's computer rather than on a central computer. Branch offices in a large organization have their own servers that store data, information and other resources required for the daily operations. This servers would periodically update the central computer.
Advantages of Distributed Processing
- The failure of the central computer does not affect the operations of the other terminals (reliability)
- processing load is shared equally hence no time wastage (improved performance and reduced time wasting)
- Relatively cheap -Distributed data processing considerably lowers the cost of data sharing and networking across an organization by comprising several minicomputers that cost significantly less than mainframe machines.
- The system is flexible in sharing of processing activities also in terms of increasing or decreasing processing power. For example, adding more nodes or computers to the network increases processing power and overall system capability, while reducing computers from the network decreases processing power.
Even though the initial cost is higher, the savings experienced and the value added to service delivery make them a ready choose for enterprising managers. Networks greatly increase the efficient use of scarce resources thus saving operational costs
A computer network is reliable because:
- Data can be transferred with minimum error from source to destination
- In case one computer breaks down, a user can still access data and information from other computers on the same network.
- Advantages of Computer Networking
- 1. Easy Communication
- It is very easy to communicate through a network. People can communicate efficiently using a network with a group of people. They can enjoy the benefit of emails, instant messaging, telephony, video conferencing, chat rooms, etc.
- 2. Ability to Share Files, Data and Information
- This is one of the major advantages of networking computers. People can find and share information and data because of networking. This is beneficial for large organizations to maintain their data in an organized manner and facilitate access for desired people.
- 3. Sharing of Resources
- Another important advantage of networking is the ability to share hardware/software. For an example, a printer can be shared among the users in a network so that there’s no need to have individual printers for each and every computer in the company. This will significantly reduce the cost of purchasing hardware.
- 4. Speed
- Sharing and transferring files within networks is very rapid, depending on the type of network. This will save time while maintaining the integrity of files.
Limitations (Disadvantages) of Networking
Data and information is more prone to illegal access than where there is no networking. Computer crimes like tapping of information is common
High Initial Costs
Initial costs of acquiring network resources like hardware and software is high
Moral and Cultural Effects
Large networks like the internet have chat rooms and messaging services that enable underage children to meet peers and adults on the net some of whom may have bad intentions. e.g access to drugs information and pornographic contents
Spread of Terrorism and Drug Trafficking
The easy flow of information keeps even those who are on the wrong side of the law communicating easily. Terrorists and drug traffickers use information networks for their business communications
Over - Reliance on networks
All businesses these days is dependent on computer networks. And if a network fails, businesses will halt to a stand still and bring enormous losses.
In a network there are users who consume a lot more bandwidth than others. Because of this some other people may experience difficulties.
Advantages and disadvantages of networks
Sharing devices such as printers saves money.
Site (software) licences are likely to be cheaper than buying several standalone licences.
Files can easily be shared between users.
Network users can communicate by email and instant messenger.
Security is good - users cannot see other users' files unlike on stand-alone machines.
Data is easy to backup as all the data is stored on the file server.
Purchasing the network cabling and file servers can be expensive.
Managing a large network is complicated, requires training and a network manager usually needs to be employed.
If the file server breaks down the files on the file server become inaccessible. Email might still work if it is on a separate server. The computers can still be used but are isolated.
Viruses can spread to other computers throughout a computer network.
There is a danger of hacking, particularly with wide area networks. Security procedures are needed to prevent such abuse, eg a firewall.