Nowadays, we share a lot of information via computers daily. It has become an integral part of our personal as well as professional lives. But did you know that all the computers are connected through nodes so that we can communicate? This is what computer network is all about, and naturally, we have different types of networks as well as different types of computers. Some of the network types are Local Area Networks (LAN), Personal Area Networks (PAN), Home Area Networks (HAN), Wide Area Networks (WAN), Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN), Global Area Networks (GAN), Enterprise and Virtual Private Networks, and others.
We have covered those in detail already. After this analysis, you’ll understand the advantages and disadvantages of a computer network and network technology in general.
Advantages of Computer Network
From enhanced communication to a reliable system, here are some advantages of computer networks.
1. Resource sharing
This is one of the most important benefits of a computer network. Resources such as printers, scanners, copiers, and software are shared among all the employees in an organization. It encourages collaboration, and, in the long run, saves a lot of time and money. Along with this, it also allows organizing meetings and completing tasks efficiently.
Billions of bits of data are created daily, hence why we need a good storage capacity. In a computer network, that data can be stored in a central server. And from here, each employee in an organization can access it independently. So, in case even if the data is lost on a computer, it can still be retrieved from the central server. Users undoubtedly also have local storage options, and while they can offer individual security, there are risks associated with them. Using computer networks’ storage lets users free their local storage and, at the same time, prevents critical data loss.
Computer networks provide versatility in terms of operations and communication. Instead of a local server, the data is stored in a central server, making it easier to access using the internet. This allows accessing data on the go. Furthermore, you can send and receive data in real-time, which has streamlined our communication. So, even if we lost our device, we can still access our data from different devices. Overall, it allows users to explore various services flexibly.
A computer network is cost-effective both in terms of daily communications and operations, because, once again, a central server stores data. That way, businesses don’t have to invest separately in space for data. Also, while the setup cost of a computer network is high, it is a one-time investment. As a result, it can reduce costs in the long run as it allows resource sharing, eliminating the need to purchase resources and technology for each employee separately.
5. Computer networks are usually reliable
The computer network has proved to be reliable during crises such as hardware failure. If the device gets damaged or lost, then we still have data stored in the central location, where, on a whim, it can be retrieved from the central server using any other device. This way, there won’t be any loss of data, nor will any task come to a halt. Additionally, it offers the feature of data protection, where only the users who are given permission can view and use it. This makes a computer network a reliable collection of technologies.
6. Enhanced Security
Computer networks have advanced security. These days, they offer multifactor authentication to grant admission to the network. This authentication process requires a set of usernames and passwords for initial entry combined with either biometrics such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition or OTPs (One-Time Passwords) sent to the user’s email or phone number. Hence, users can rest assured that operating a computer network is much safer.
Disadvantages of Computer Network
We saw the bright side of using a computer network, now let’s take a look at the disadvantages of the computer networks.
As mentioned earlier, the setup cost of a computer network can be quite expensive. Along with investing in hardware devices, you also need to invest in other equipment such as routers, switches, and costly hubs. Moreover, it requires regular monitoring as well as maintenance. Plus, the team responsible for carrying out these tasks should (and must, frankly) possess high technical skills, be well-versed with its operations, administration, and troubleshooting. A single mistake can come with a high price tag in computer networks.
In a computer network, the centralized server is at the core. Most of the decisions are made upfront, with little involvement of the users in the network. So, the users lack the freedom to use the devices the way they desire. Along with taking the freedom of the individual users, the centralized computer network system lacks robustness. This means, if the main server crashes, then the entire system collapses, and activities come to a screeching halt.
Another drawback of a centralized system is that if one device in the computer network is infected by a virus or malware, it puts the central server is at risk. Furthermore, when employees exchange these infected files in the network, it leads to security breaches. Hackers use viruses to damage devices and steal information in the network. This is why network administrators zero in on corrupted files by conducting regular checkups and using state-of-the-art security.
4. Decreased productivity
The internet is a never-ending hole, where each link leads to more topics to explore. Now just imagine you are at a workplace and given unlimited access to the internet. You would have a hard time staying focused. It’s natural for your mind to drift to the source of distraction, the web. The same happens with others, and they waste their precious time-consuming unnecessary content instead of using the work hours productively. Organizations have policies in place to prevent this. However, implementing them and expecting the employees to follow through it is a whole other story.
5. Health concerns
As you all know, going to extremes in anything is dangerous, which applies to the use of computer networks, too. It provides numerous entertainment options – browsing the Internet, watching TV shows and movies, or gaming. It can compel the users into using them throughout the day, leading to negative consequences. Likewise, it can impact their physical and mental health. In terms of physical health, excess screen time can lead to back and neck pain and eye strain. It can also mess with the hormones responsible for sleep, such as melatonin, leading to insomnia, depression, and other mental health issues. So, the bunch of services computer networks provide can be a curse in disguise if used improperly.
6. Computer networks interdependent on the connected devices
The computer network is a web of interconnected devices. It makes the sharing of resources possible. However, this also makes for a glaring disadvantage. That is the dependence on connected devices. If one such device experiences any malfunctioning, it leads to a total shutdown of the network. Hence, computer networks are highly dependent on attached devices. Even with the advancement of cloud technology, physical servers are needed to host the associated web services.