Data Networks: The Unsung Hero of Organisational Success

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We will look at the following in greater detail as we proceed further:

Think of an ordinary transportation network formed of roads, rails, highways etc., found in most if not all cities. By itself, such a network does not hold too much importance, but it is important because it helps to distribute people, food, products, clothes and so on. The unavailability of these channels can compromise a city’s ability to transport people and things, making them critical.

Take the above metaphor and apply it to companies. Companies can be thought of as a city full of people (employees), in need of networks (data networks) to serve as channels for food & clothes (critical information) to flow through them. Much like in a city, companies have networks in place to fulfil a particular set of needs. And just like the residents of a city are the end-users of the food and clothes, a company’s end users are its employees who consume essential data transmitted from one computer to another.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the speed and accuracy with which processes and transactions can happen, determine a company’s success. This is especially true for large organisations. Therefore, any failure to these processes can be disastrous for a company. The market today has become so competitive that the time taken by a company to meet the demands of customers and suppliers can decide a company’s fate. As a result, an organisation’s data networks are now regarded as one of its most critical resources.

Data networks are popular in private and public sector companies alike. A large number of organisations have benefited from remote interactions they are able to have with partners, suppliers and customers. If you think about the impact that this might have on a whole country, a country’s overall productivity can be put down to the strength of its data networks. It must be said, though, that these improvements in productivity are only as good as the data networks themselves.

Data Networking: How much do we know?

We have alluded to how Data Networks surround and impact organisations. Truth is, data networks find applications in everything from wifi to full-blown telecommunication networks. They truly touch our lives in uncountable ways. Given all this, our understanding of them is superficial at best.

Data Networks surround and impact our lives in uncountable ways, yet our understanding of them is superficial at best. Data networks are at the heart of the modern era of connectivity and their influence over life as we know it continues to grow. The number of internet users globally has witnessed a steady uptick with a 6% CAGR expected to sustain through to 2023:

This usage splits up into various devices as explained in the graphic below:

If these statistics have got you curious and you want to learn about the intricacies of Data Networking, then read on, because this blog is just the thing for you!

What is Data Networking?

A data network is a system designed to facilitate the transfer of data between individuals as well as organisations. It enables such modern marvels as the internet and telecommunication. The points between which data is exchanged are called network access points or nodes. Depending on the number of nodes at the receiving end, data networks can be classified into:

  • Point-to-point

One sender transmits to one receiver. For example, a phone call involving two people.

  • Broadcast

One sender transmits to multiple points simultaneously. For example, a mass email.

There are three different complex processes at play for a signal from a sender to reach a receiver:

  • Circuit Switching

This process involves the setting up of a dedicated channel of communication before the two points even start communicating.

  • Message Switching

Every message is passed on from one switch to another. The whole of the message gets stored at each switch and its information is read before getting handed off to the next switch.

  • Packet Switching

The contents of the message are split up and grouped in packets. Then, each packet generated in this way is sent over a digital network. The choice of route is made based on the speed of the network, with the goal of minimising lag.

What Is the Future of Data Networking?

Any blog on Data Networking is incomplete if it doesn’t offer the reader a glimpse into what the future might hold for data networking. So that’s exactly what we’re going to tell you next. Follow us on this crystal ball expedition as we take you through the 10 predictions made by Dr Badri Gomatam, Group CTO, STL. What makes them especially impressive is that these predictions were made in early 2019 and some of them have already begun to take shape:

  1. Ultra-fast, low latency 5G mobile broadband-enabled by bend-insensitive fibre technology.
  2. A mix of access technologies will be used by operators.
  3. The rapid adoption of standardised deployment approaches such as Lead360. (Read more about STL’s Lead360 solution).
  4. Telcos will adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for customer care, service automation, security management etc.
  5. An algorithmic network design will become the new standard in network design.
  6. Computing will be pushed to its edge with sensors and analytics becoming ubiquitous for real-time application monitoring.
  7. Innovations will be made in the design of sensory fibre and cable, carrying on from such inventions as Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS).
  8. Transmission Systems will continue to improve transformationally, especially such concepts as Super PON.
  9. The next generation in data centres will be equipped to respond to dynamic demand levels more fundamentally and efficiently
  10. Power over Ethernet (PoE) will drive business in a significant way for such applications as the Internet of Things (IoT) and data LAN cabling.

What Makes STL Tech’s Data Networking Solution Special?

Speaking of the future, you will be hard-pressed to find a more complete and future-ready solution to ever-changing consumer demands as STL’s FTTx Mantra. FTTx Mantra aims to present the proposition of reach, scalability and quality all in one solution. These three things, all rolled into one offering are the key to unlocking a digital network that is truly future-ready.

FTTx Mantra as a fibre access network solution finds its application in empowering Network Providers and Telcos to roll out FTTx swiftly and at a massive scale. Response time has been brought down to near-zero, agility is a major focus and cost has been optimised. Some of the key benefits that set it apart are:

  • 2x Faster Deployment
  • 10x Delivery Scale
  • 35% Cost Saving
  • 50% Reduced Manpower
  • Ultra-Low Latency

STL’s world-renowned expertise in data networks is no accident. STL’s core values of Hunger to Learn and Promises Delivered set up the perfect breeding ground for pathbreaking innovation. Our Centre of Excellence at Aurangabad not only meets global network infrastructure benchmarks but consistently exceeds them. Our remarkable portfolio of 462 patents continues to grow and solidify our legacy as pioneers in data network integration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Advantages of Using Data Networking?

There is a reason for the prevalence of data networks in the consumer as well as the enterprise context. This reason is the multitude of advantages that it affords the user. These are:

  • Resource Sharing

Gone are the days when a device such as a headset would have to be disconnected from a computer to form a connection with a mobile phone. These days, devices like headsets, printers, storage etc., can all be shared.

  • Ease of Communication

Data networks have enabled the wireless sharing of files that would earlier have to be copied onto a medium like a floppy disc for physical transfer. Thanks to this, communication is now infinitely simpler and faster.

  • Working Collaboratively

Many people can work on and edit the same document remotely from different locations. This has allowed teams to undertake bigger and more challenging projects that are benefitted from inputs from various sources.

  • Storing Software Centrally

Resources that are of use to multiple people/ units in an organisation can be stored in a central location and retrieved at the time of need. An example can be a repository of pictures to be used for content marketing as well as internal branding.

  • Central Database Access

Different levels of access to a company’s database can be given to the company’s members, as per their requirements or clearance levels.

What Are the Types of Data Networks?

Based on the kind of signal and coverage area, data networks can be split up into 7 distinct categories:

  • Local Area Network (LAN)

As the name suggests, LAN connects computers in a localised area like a school’s computer lab or an office. A hub or a switch are made use of to create a network of computers.

  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Companies use MANs to connect the LANs of all their branches in a city. The area of coverage can even extend beyond a city.

  • Wide Area Network (WAN)

In terms of geographical area coverage, WAN covers numerous computer networks over a wide area. Routers, servers, modems etc., all come together at a global scale to create the internet, which is also a type of WAN.

  • Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

PSTN is essentially the internet but for telephony. This network is of the public circuit-switched kind. Popular applications of this category are radio and telephones (cellular and landline)

  • Wireless Networks

Wireless Networks enable connectivity between devices without the need for cables. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are two examples of wireless networks that support the exchange of different formats of information.

  • Satellite Networks

Satellite Networks are orchestrated by the deployment of satellites to orbit the earth. Telephone services, Google Maps, and weather apps are all brought to us by these satellites.

  • Cellular Data Network

These systems take the region to be covered and divide it up into many geographical areas. Every such area is equipped with a low-power transmitter for relaying calls from area to area.

What is Data Network Architecture?

Based on the needs of the client, data network architecture can take the following forms at an enterprise level:

  • Access Networks

These are designed in order to onboard users and data, like connecting the employees of an office building.

  • Networks for Data Centre

Users are given access to data and applications hosted on interconnected servers.

  • Wide Area Networks

The purpose of such an architecture is to connect users to applications even over long distances.

What are the different components of Data Networking?

Data Networking comprises both hardware as well as software components. They are listed as follows:

Hardware Components

  • Servers

Servers are computers that serve information to other computers. They play a crucial role in managing network resources. The user gets access to the network resources by virtue of the network operating system that is typically installed on the server.

  • Clients

Clients are the computers that benefit from the service from the servers in the form of network resources.

  • Peers

In a workgroup network, computers both send and receive help from other peers. All such computers are called peers.

  • Transmission Media

A data network consists of channels that help conduct the flow of information between devices. Transmission media may be of the following two types:

  1. Guided: Fibre Optic Cable, Coaxial Cable
  2. Unguided: Infra-red waves, microwaves
  • Connecting Devices

Connecting devices help to tie the network together and serve as the middleware. Some such devices are routers, repeaters, hubs, bridges, switches and gateways.

Software Components

  • Network Operating System

These systems allow for the sharing of applications, files, printers etc., between workstations in a network.

  • Protocol Suite

Computers abide by certain rules or guidelines for data communication. These rules or guidelines are called a protocol. Many such related protocols established for a computer network form a Protocol Suite. Two of the popular suites are Open System Connections and TCP/ IP Model.

What are the Applications of Data Networking?

As is evident by now, the applications of data networking are as numerous as they are critical to the functioning of homes and businesses alike.

Business Applications

  • Resource Sharing

Resources like data, printers, applications etc., are able to be shared among members of an organisation thanks to this application of data networking. The use of resources can happen irrespective of the physical distance between the user and the resource.

  • Client-Server Model

Employees of a company are equipped with Clients that retrieve information from centrally located Servers which are high-configuration computers.

  • Communication Medium

A data network sets up a strong communication medium on which employees can exchange information.

  • e-Commerce

Businesses are all starting to face up to the reality that customers are slowly but surely shifting their purchases online through vendor sites. Data networking is responsible for this behavioural change that has been capitalised on such industries as airlines, restaurants etc.

Home Applications

Users at home are able to avail the benefits of such applications as:

  • Unprecedented Access to Information
  • Long-distance Person-to-person Communication
  • Two-way Entertainment
  • E-Commerce

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