Today, our techs will be discussing the basics of how computer networks work.
Some equipment besides computer workstations is required to connect all of the computers to each other and to the internet. You need:
- A modem
- A firewall
- A few switches, depending on your setup and number of rooms
- A patch panel
- A server
The device that connects to the internet is the modem. A modem is a small device sometimes provided to you by your internet service provider. This device then communicates with another small device called a firewall. The firewall acts as the gates to your system; it decides what information can go in and out of your computer network.
A modem and firewall are not necessary to create an in-house computer network for your business. The devices inside the teleco are, however, necessary to connect your computers together. A teleco is the room in which most of your networking devices are housed.
If you have a firewall, it connects to a switch. A switch is the device that connects multiple devices together. The switch inside the teleco is connected to a server and a patch panel.
A server is a computer that houses all the data about your company: users, email, files, etc. It is only connected to the switch and nothing else. When information is requested of the server, it goes through the switch and into the patch panel.
A patch panel is a panel that has dozens of ports in which ethernet cables go into (see the image on the right). These ethernet cables run through the walls of your office and into the walls of the rooms that have computer work stations on them.
In the office in which your computer work stations are in, there will be one or more ethernet ports. The computers can either connect directly into the ethernet port or connect through a switch, which effectively makes it so that multiple computers can connect into one ethernet port.
Your computer network is the backbone of your business. It determines how efficiently your employees can work and how quickly they can access the files that they need.