Local Area Network
A Local Area Network (LAN) is a network that is confined to a relatively small area. It is generally limited to a geographic area such as a writing lab, school, or building.
Computers connected to a network are broadly categorized as servers or workstations. Servers are generally not used by humans directly, but rather run continuously to provide "services" to the other computers (and their human users) on the network. Services provided can include printing and faxing, software hosting, file storage and sharing, messaging, data storage and retrieval, complete access control (security) for the network's resources, and many others.
This section focuses on the general term “networks”… which is comprised of equipment and cabling, which we also specialize in installing and maintaining. See Cabling Solutions (CAT 5/6 & Fiber).
MainStream Technologies has extensive capabilities and experience in installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting your network, no matter how large or small. Networks that have been “built” by inexperienced “technicians” often do not take into consideration the sensitivity and effect that proximity to electrical wiring, fluorescent lighting, and other major sources of interference can cause with your network. Your network may be operating in a severely degraded state if only 1 CAT5/6 cable is in close proximity to 1 electrical line.
We can often make simple changes in arrangement to existing wiring which will correct many issues on your network.
Another simple “fix” that many novice users are guilty of is this: ‘We don’t need to run another drop all the way back to our wiring closet to connect another device here, let’s just get a $20 switch to multiply the connections we can make at this location with only 1 cabling drop’. In rare cases, this may be ok, but there are several things to consider. How many and what types of devices are you connecting? What type of switch are you using – or are you using a hub (old technology)? If you have more than 1 switch on your network, and one doesn’t “play well” with the other, your network could be flaky or non-functional. Many times your network can operate much more efficiently if it has been “patched” and “spliced”. We can quickly identify and fix these problems.
Wide Area Network
A Wide Area Network (WAN) connects networks in larger geographic areas, such as Mississippi, the United States, or the world. Dedicated transoceanic cabling or satellite uplinks may be used to connect this type of global network.
Using a WAN, schools in Mississippi can communicate with places like Tokyo in a matter of seconds, without paying enormous phone bills. Two users a half-world apart with workstations equipped with microphones and a webcams might teleconference in real time. A WAN is complicated. It uses multiplexers, bridges, and routers to connect local and metropolitan networks to global communications networks like the Internet. To users, however, a WAN will not appear to be much different than a LAN.
A more local example that we, at MainStream Technologies have implemented is a local gas company who has locations in Starkville, West Point, and Macon. Their main office, in Starkville, is where the server is located. We inexpensively connected the other 2 locations back to the Starkville office so that they can share the 1 server and it’s applications/database. We are able to monitor the network, and in most cases, if there is an issue with connectivity between sites, remote in and fix the problem from our office.