In today’s business world, social media and online presence play an important role and businesses depend on network infrastructure for handling several daily operations. Networks are not just about developing a connection between devices to different machines, phones, tablets or other pieces of hardware; it is about securing and managing the systems effectively.
An effective network infrastructure ensures the company gains new clients and retains the existing ones through proper communication, connectivity and on-time delivery of services.
Companies make use of encryption keys and install management tools to handle network-related services where a VPN or a virtual private network allows connecting to the trusted network instead of unsecured ones.
What is Network Infrastructure?
For a business, communication between the client and the business is very important as it helps in retaining customers and the businesses can manage to follow-ups to ensure order confirmation and this gets them satisfactory customer response.
Network Infrastructure refers to the field of IT related to network services. It includes devices that are used to connect and communicate like networking hardware, facilities, services and software.
A network management system allows you to use methods to organize the network tools and use latest technologies to secure networks where customized policy determination for malware protection, password encryption, monitoring & logging, remote access and removable media can help in lowering vulnerability to attacks.
What does Network Infrastructure mean?
A network is the collection of computers, mainframes, servers, devices and peripherals that allow sharing data, whereas, the network infrastructure is the global collection of networks.
It includes both small and big networks which are connected through different types of mechanisms as they all form a single entity which is called the internet. The name internet – comes from the interconnectivity of networks.
Several businesses are dependent on network design for their daily operations, especially, in areas where reliable customer contact ensures growth in customer base and effective services allows the firms to retain the current customers. The system ensures communication between the client and business helps to keep hold of customers through phone or mail.
Types for Network Infrastructure
The examples of network infrastructure are
Hardware – Cables, wireless routers, LAN cards, and switches are part of the hardware system.
Cabling – It provides a channel to pass information, data, and communication through equipment like optical fibre or Cat 5, Cat 6.
It connects the key part of the business technology equipment to create network systems which can function effectively.
The system allows the business to add new equipment or resources and it can help to deliver seamless integration of systems, which ensures expansion and effective management of changes in the business.
The telecom cables are connected to various business systems like fire and security but the requirement of individual widely depends on the type of the business and the size of the operation.
Overall, cabling provides a cost-effective, scalable and simple system, which can help to reduce the risk of downtime and lower IT problems in a business.
Ethernet – It includes the cable, the computing devices, hubs, switches and routers – found in network infrastructure.
Routers – Routers direct traffic and it is used to connect devices and networks. It helps the traffic to move from one place to others on the internet. It ensures the right bits of data end up in the right place. It can read the incoming data and send it to the desired location.
Switches – Switches connect devices on the network by forwarding traffic. It is different from routers as it is the device used to create the networks, even as, routers connect networks.
The computer in any office can be connected to switches that make a LAN.
It helps to connect all types of technology bits like phones, laptops, lights, server, screens and mobiles. The switches communicate with other devices and help in creating a powerful communication system.
Hubs – These are the points or switches, which can forward the traffic to all the connected devices.
Bridges – It creates a single network for multiple networks.
Wireless central hub and Wireless Access Points –
The hardware that allows wireless devices i.e. Wi-fi to connect to a wired network is used to create a quick and effective network with devices that can operate on a wireless basis.
These days most businesses require wireless equipment and services, which do not require wired operations. This is, especially, useful for small businesses that have become lean and agile with the help of wireless connection.
Wi-fi connectivity has become an integral part of many businesses like travel and hospitality. It is the service which helps to monitor traffic and market trends.
Software – The software includes network security applications, operating systems, firewalls, network management and operations. The networks are dependent on the operating systems as dedicated software is required to ensure the hardware remains connected to the devices.
Firewall - The firewall serves a way to regulate the traffic which is governed by rules and parameters set in the firewall. It determines the security and safety of the data and communication channels. It is used to determine what type of traffic is allowed and what is not.
The server is the computer that provides service to other computers. A web server provides web pages to client devices.
Load balancers are devices that can distribute work to servers, which allows services to scale horizontally.
The network also involves services like IP address, satellite, wireless protocols, DSL etc.
Gateways - Gateways are devices which can provide an interface between different types of networks. It translates between various types of signals and protocols.
Proxies - Proxies make requests on behalf of clients. Such devices are used to monitor filter and log the traffic on the corporate network.
Another service reverse proxy can be found which appears to the client to be a server but it forwards requests to the servers. The reverse proxy performs services like load balancing, security and encryption.
What is IT infrastructure?
IT infrastructure involves computer hardware, OS, platforms, enterprise software platform, networking/telecommunication platform, internet, DBMS and consulting services.
The basic components of IT infrastructure are switch, routers, firewalls, servers, data centre, human resource etc. These days almost all offices need a desktop computer, switches, routers, servers and equipment to provide intranet or internet connectivity.
It provides full visibility and control over all the assets held by the firm. It is the central system responsible for ensuring seamless service to the customers.
The data centre in the internet infrastructure that involves media transmission like fibre optic cables, microwave – a line of sight – antennas, satellites, routers, repeaters, aggregators, load balancers, and other components, which can control the transmission paths.
The infrastructure is built, designed and operated by ISPs like AT&T and Verizon. When a business engages an ISP internet access, it is tied to the data centre infrastructure.
The ways infrastructure is designed has been changing with the introduction of the cloud. A traditional business data centres were a mostly private capital intensive unit.
The traditional heterogeneous system involved manual process that required enormous integration, system management efforts and optimization. It was, especially, useful for integrating servers, network, storage and other components from various vendors.
Today vendors provide a pre-integrated and pre-optimized collection of devices, which can optimize IT hardware and promote virtualization into one system that can be deployed, managed and expanded easily.
The latest system of cloud provides access to data centre infrastructure which offers service for a fee. The new model IaaS allows flexible computing on demand that reduces the need for holding the hardware at the location.
Similarly, the SaaS model offers benefits for specific workloads where a 3rd party provider hosts servers, software, storage and components.
SaaS allows users to access the provider’s hosted workloads. Instead of deploying and maintaining workloads locally, users can make use of Saas to handle HR applications, databases, office productivity, analytical applications and others.
Why is network infrastructure important?
Some of the advantages of network infrastructure services are –
Efficiency – A secure network infrastructure lowers downtime and ensures the productivity remains consistent.
Scalability – It helps to support the growth of business without the requirement of a complete redesign.
Economical – It lowers the cost of running a business and it lowers disruptions in business activities.
Security- It enhances the security of the network and provides higher protection from annoyance like malware, spam, viruses. It keeps the data safe and secure.
Accessibility – It provides connectivity to any region irrespective of the geographical location.
What is the difference between infrastructure and network?
Infrastructure is used for the physical system of business where IT infrastructure indicates a collection of hardware, network resources, software and services, essential to handle operations and manage a business in the IT environment.
The back-end network infrastructure services can be of three types – network, computing and storage. The traditional infrastructure had all managed within the reach of the business and it consisted of bulky servers, server rooms and hardware – that was handled by a team of networking and IT experts to ensure the uninterrupted flow of information.
In modern infrastructure, resources are logically pooled and administered. The network fabric resources, storage and physical compute form the composite infrastructure where the “Admin” can organize and manage the resources through software tools.
The dynamic IT Network infrastructure can automatically provision and adjust the workload demands. It can minimize the time and effort required to manage the infrastructure and reduce errors. It also ensures the resources are used efficiently as the administrators can select to manage the resources manually.
Some types of infrastructure frameworks are essential and are categorised as critical infrastructures like the security of a country or public safety. Such systems are operated through remote data centres and it ensures the cloud resources are used efficiently that helps in workload redundancy.
A famous book networking for dummies published in 1994 by Doug Lowe explains the basics of networking with valuable updates and it also explains about the latest trends and tools. The book can be studied to know about wire or wireless network systems, the ways to secure and troubleshoot networking problems.
Companies and individuals make use of different types of networks like personal area networks, local area networks, metropolitan area networks, wide area networks and global area networks.
Such networks encourage sharing and improving engagement with your contacts. It helps to strengthen relationships with the customer and promotes reciprocal assistance.
It helps to get fresh ideas where one can get new perspectives and it can provide a useful way to build a reputation. Networking helps in improving visibility where the business can be known for on-sale and after-sale customer support and other reliable services.
Networking offers the opportunity to share the best practices, knowledge and learn business techniques that can help in industry development. Certain informed network and interconnected firms provide broader access to new information.
Network infrastructure devices
Network infrastructure components are needed for transmission of data, services, applications and multimedia. The infrastructure involves the hardware and software, which enable connectivity, communication, management and operations.
Routers can separate LAN segments. The organizations put routers between the networks to create a kind of boundary which increases the number of broadcast domains and it also promotes the use of filters. Companies use boundaries to contain security breaches by lowering the traffic to segments and it can even shut down segments of the network.
There are many devices other than router like firewalls, switches, load balancers, DNS, storage area networks that are used in network design.
The devices connect through wires/cables or use wireless means using an access point like a router to connect to the network.
Organizations use legacy unencrypted protocols to manage hosts and services. Network infrastructure devices are an easy target for such attackers. Such devices are not maintained at the same security level as a general-purpose desktop or server.
CISA (cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) encourages implementing – segmentation and segregation of network and functions. It recommends limiting unnecessary lateral communication and use of improved network devices to secure access to infrastructure devices. It also helps to validate the integrity of the hardware and software.
Network infrastructure for e commerce
The firm may take orders over the phone but if the orders are not delivered on time or if there is lack of information regarding the existing inventory and the production capability, the company may upset customers and this can cause damage its reputation that it will also affect the morale of the workers, who are unable to complete their jobs on time due to lack of proper information.
Network infrastructure for e commerce helps firms in the following ways –
A company supported by the effective network can deliver orders on time and easily streamline the incoming orders and handle the inventory.
Most internet-based software provides inventory and job scheduling details, where without a solid network essential access to information can be delayed or lost.
These days network infrastructure for e commerce helps in getting proper information which allows the firms to complete tasks on time and meet the desired specifications effectively.
It helps the workers meet deadlines and it can increase overall response, performance and productivity of the business.
Companies having multiple branches in different geographical regions operate their HR and payroll systems effectively through it.
Companies without the support of a strong network system can face a breakdown in communication and the orders may get delayed and cancelled. This can affect productivity and overall performance.
How does Internet infrastructure work?
When you are looking at how does Internet infrastructure work, you will notice that a lot of that technology is so sophisticated that it takes two to understand. There are the servers and the routers.
There are the switches and there are the circuits. There are the systems that make the whole thing run. If you really want to see how the Internet works, you need to look at the core of all of this.
This is the raw computing power that is physically devices and hardware that are a part of these networks that makes everything go. For those who do not know, there are six different types of servers that are needed for many websites to operate.
The servers have the ability to handle a lot of traffic from the various websites on the Internet. There are these networks that are used to help the servers receive a larger amount of traffic.
These networks are called routers, which will help a person to access the website, as well as other websites on the Internet, and to find out information from the website.
You will need to understand these six different technologies that are used to help users in using the Internet. Every single one of these people have the knowledge that they need to create and maintain the Internet.
These people are the ones who own servers, routers, switches, and the networks that are used to link them together. The most important of all of these people is the computer that is doing the work.
What is network infrastructure design?
Network Infrastructure Design (NDI) is the process by which an IT department, a parent company or a subsidiary functions within its networks. A network is defined as the set of cables and wires that communicate over a shared medium such as telephone lines, fiber optic, broadband or satellite technologies to form an information highway.
An NDI typically involves a set of steps that may include increasing the size of the primary networking components, changing the architecture and installation of cables and wires, establishing and configuring the transport protocols to ensure secure and fast communications, enhancing the security of communication and data, controlling access to specific components within the networks, managing redundant components and maintaining an efficient service level agreement.
Network infrastructure security
Network Infrastructure Security focuses on the protection of an organization's network from threats such as the risks of intrusion, sabotage, theft, and natural disaster. To achieve effective security, you need to assess the security of your network from all directions and as a whole.
Most network security software provides information about the risks that are present in the network environment. It also provides information about the capabilities of the network system that is installed in the network.
Security management tools that are available to provide the staff with good ideas about the security of the network and the actions that they can take to achieve the most secured environment. For example, one can download the free SMS software, which shows their network security status at a glance.
The NetIQ concept addresses the aspects of managing security issues on the network. The network security assessment has to be continuous so that it can determine the security risk in the network. This is done through the identification of vulnerabilities, which may include traffic inspection, packet inspection, user interaction and physical access to the server.
Once the vulnerability or risk is identified, then the solution would be developed and implemented so that the real risk is reduced. More often than not, a network-based system is considered vulnerable, if the users do not know what a network infrastructure security is all about and if they are not aware of the information that they are required to give out when they login to the network.
The most important thing for network infrastructure security is to be informed. The security of the network is something that needs to be maintained and monitored every now and then.
It is important that you get the security checks done on a regular basis. It is quite possible to avoid the security risk by keeping the system updated with the latest software, patches and security updates.