If you’re considering upgrading or setting up a new LAN from scratch, you’ll have to consider whether you want to go for a wired or a wireless setup. Both have different advantages, with a wired network requiring a wide range of network cables, while a wireless network can offer more portable connectivity, as well as less physical space. It’s worth, then, looking at the benefits and potential challenges of wired and wireless networks in some more detail.
These networks are typically set up using Ethernet cabling, hubs, and switches, and can be connected to routers. Wired networks can be created using network adapters for different devices, and can also use crossover cables to connect various devices. The speed of a wired network can be greater than a wireless networks, as computers are directly linked and able to transmit large amounts of information, making them a stable option for sharing files.
Some of the disadvantages of wired networks include the need to lay cables and connect up different devices with space saving accessories like patch panels. For this reason, having a dedicated server room is often required when creating a wired network, which can end up costing you more on your initial investment. However, a wired network using Cat 5 and Cat 6 cables can deliver more consistent, high speed connectivity than a wireless network, and can be better for internal networking for businesses.
A wireless network is usually created by using a Wi-Fi router to transmit an encrypted signal to different devices; 802.11a and 802.11b wireless standards are common, while computers and devices will either need a wireless network card or software that can detect signals. Wireless networks can often just mean setting up a router and then setting a password so that you don’t receive any unauthorised connections.
Depending on the internet package you have, and the individual quality of a router, wireless networks can be slower than a wired network due to a lack of direct cable and lead connections. Wireless signals are also more likely to receive interference, and especially when signals are being sent across different parts of a building. While wireless networks can be encrypted at multiple points, they can still be susceptible to hacking.
So, which is best for your needs? Wired connections are probably better for businesses or home networks that need to effectively share files over high speed cabled connections, and can be configured using hubs and switches. By contrast, Wi-Fi networks are more practical if you can’t easily run cables through a building, or if you only want to connect a few portable devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops to a network. In both cases, it’s best to look online to find deals on different networks.