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Assessing LAN reliability

Assessing LAN reliability

Question:
I need to make a recommendation to a firm. There are upwards of 50 computer controllers and each must be guaranteed of sending at least one message every minute. The network must also be extremely reliable, because any interruption to it will result in lost production. I must also allow for expansion in the near future.

What are the distinguishing features and advantages/disadvantages of each type of network: Ethernet, token ring, slotted ring and token bus?

Answer:
It appears from your question that you will have constant message traffic on your LAN. Ethernet is far more popular than token ring. It also enjoys wider vendor support and lower costs while maintaining reliability. You can minimize down times by following some simple guidelines:

  1. Select a reputable cabling contractor.
  2. Install high-quality, preferably top-grade Cat 5 cabling and jacks.
  3. Purchase top quality patch cables; they should be Cat 5 and manufactured by a reputable vendor.
  4. Invest in power conditioning equipment, e.g. UPS, surge protectors, etc.
  5. Select a robust and reliable server.
  6. Select a Network Operating System based on track record. The main choices for a small- to medium-sized LAN are Novell Intranetware 4.11 and Windows NT 4.0.
  7. Invest in high-quality PCs and LAN adapters.
  8. Invest in training.
  9. Purchase service agreements to help in maintenance.
  10. Test thoroughly before operating. Simulate full load conditions.

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