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Wireless Networks vs Wired Networks

Wireless Networks vs Wired Networks

            The purpose of this paper is to compare wireless networks to wired networks. I will discuss a brief history of wireless networking and wired networking, the pros and cons of a wireless network, and the pros and cons of a wired or hardwired network.

            The history of a wired network can be traced all the way back to the 1940’s, some interesting facts about wired networking and the people involved in its inception include George Stibitz who was the first person to use a teletype machine to send instructions for a problem set from his Model K at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to his Complex Number Calculator in New York. The use of the teletype to transmit data between two different places was in essence the very first computer network although it didn’t involve a mainframe computer. Linking output systems like teletypes to computers was of interest to the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) who, in 1962, hired J.C.R. Licklider who developed a working group he called the “Intergalactic Network”, a precursor to the ARPANet which was the very first true computer network.  In 1964, researchers at Dartmouth developed the Dartmouth Time Sharing System for distributed users of large computer systems. The very same year, at MIT, a research group supported by General Electric and Bell Labs used a computer (DEC’s PDP-8) to route and manage telephone connections. In 1968 Paul Baran proposed a network system consisting of datagrams or packets that could be used in a packet switching network between computer systems. In 1969 the University of California at Los Angeles, SRI (in Stanford), University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah were connected to the ARPANet network using 50 kbit/s circuits. The whole reasoning for the ARPANet network was because the US government wanted a network that could survive a nuclear attack and still be useable.

            In addition,  to the history of networking, there are some pros and cons of having a wireless network. For instance, a pro of having a wireless network is the ease of installing the hardware components, such as the router or what is commonly known as a WAP or wireless

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point of access, wireless network cards which slide into a unused PCI slot,. Another , pro of using a wireless network is the fact a person can hook up to the wireless network and use it without having to connect via a Cat5 cable. Another pro, is a person does not have to go out and buy Cat 5 cable and have to run it through walls and ceilings to each node or computer on the network.  Some cons of a wireless network are security issues that can creep up without warning. For example, most people just install a wireless network and do not implement the proper safeguards in terms of securing the network, basically put the network and all its data are at risk because its not protected with any authentication protocols. A wireless network that is not properly secured is like paradise for a computer cracker or for some one who is looking to steal some private information or steal a connection and download illegal material . Another, con of having a wireless network is the cost especially if a person is always on the move and is jumping from one access point to another, many towns charge to connect to municipal wi-fi hotspots.

            Finally, in addition to the pros and cons of a wireless network, a wired network has pros and cons as well. A big pro of a wired network is the security factor of it, Ergo the wired factor and not having data floating up in the air to where every one can capture it. Unlike a wireless network, wired networks generally have many security safeguards built into them with such things as hardware firewalls, and software firewalls. Another pro of a wired network is the sustained speed of transmitting data. For instance, when downloading a file from the Internet  a wired network will have a more consistent kilobyte rate then that of a wireless network for the simple fact the wireless network has to deal with outside obstructions such as the weather conditions mainly. A con of a wired network is the mere fact that the longer the cabling is the level of service starts to decline. Another con, of a wired network is overall speed of the network, most networks run on what is known as 10/100 speed setting which can’t compare to a wireless network rate which is now up to 108 Mb’s a second with the new generation protocol of 802.11g.

            All in all, wired networks and wireless networks each have there pros and cons.

Reference

        Computer networking ,Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_networking        8-14-2006