Recently after undertaking the role as a network consultant an interesting consulting position presented itself. There are multiple factors that need to be addressed within the company’s current network environment to ensure reliability, quality and scalability. The current environment consists of twenty Windows based peer-to-peer computers connected through the communication medium of coaxial cabling. The first issue deals with the coaxial cabling but there are other issues to address as well. The company is planning on doubling in size in approximately two years and the current environment would not provide the level of effectiveness and efficiency the end users would require to perform their tasks and objectives. Along with the projected increase in computers, network infrastructure and computing logistics, leadership, especially the president of the company, is leery about investing in the infrastructure and drastically changing the existing setup.
The main functionality of cabling in a network is to transport information from one location to another. The cabling serves as more than just a vessel for transportation it is also utilized as a protector from outside interference that could disrupt or corrupt the data being transferred. The different types of cabling also impact the speed at which the information travels. The faster the information travels the more data can be transferred between each area. Coaxial and twisted pair cablings have very different attributes when it comes to cost, speed and data transmission quality.
With the current peer-to-peer configuration and the expected growth of the company it makes sense to restructure the existing layout and replace the coaxial cabling with twisted pair cabling. If the company is expected to grow outside of the approximate forty computers it may also be feasible to lean toward a fiber optic solution in the future. The number one benefit of going from a coaxial cable is the cost per unit. Twisted pair cabling is approximately ten times cheaper per foot than the comparable coaxial cable (Barnett, Groth & McBee 2004) . Since we are not running the cabling longer than 100 meters we are well within the acceptable range for signal transmission. Over 100 meters the signal degrades in twisted pair cabling. With the increase of data transmission the twisted pair cabling also provides up to four times the transfer speed of coaxial cable with approximately 1 GB per second whereas coaxial cable runs upwards of 350 MB per second (BICSI, 2003).
Twisted pair cabling is cheaper, faster and more reliable than the coaxial cabling. With the proposed increase in size of the company while the new computers are added to the network the installation can be conducted during weekends, off-hours and in an interactive manner so not to disrupt the business. This investment would incur less cost to rewire the entire network with twisted pair cabling than installing the additional growth with coaxial cabling due to the fact that the twisted pair cabling is ten times cheaper than coaxial cabling. If fiber optic cabling was an option it would only be needed if the additional growth would be located in a disparate location where the cabling would need to be run underground or outdoors. This could also be an option if the growth of the company exceeds expectations. With the cost of $.09 cents per foot for twisted pair and the amount of volume expected for the company it seems a logical choice to upgrade to the twisted pair cabling and eliminate the coaxial cabling (Barnett, Groth & McBee 2004).
Barnett, D., Groth, D., & McBee, J. (2004). Cabling. the complete guide to network wiring. (3rd ed.). Alameda, CA: SYBEX.
BICSI. (2003). Telecommunications cabling installation. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Cadick, J. (1999). Cables and wiring. (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.