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What Factors Affect The Choice Of A Network?

What Factors Affect The Choice Of A Network

Date First Published: 12th October 2023

Topic: Computer Networking

Subtopic: Network Setups

Computer Questions & Answers

Difficulty: Easy

Difficulty Level: 3/10

Learn about what factors affect the choice of a network.

Before choosing a network, it is important to carefully consider various factors so that you choose one suitable for your needs and make an informed decision. This article is about the things you should consider when choosing a network.

Each of the factors below have different levels of importance to different users. For example, security may be most important to a bank as it stores sensitive information and doesn't want theft through its network. Below are 10 key factors that affect the choice of a network.

1. User Experience

User experience (UX) is the overall feeling a user gets when using a network. Several factors can affect the user experience, including:

  • Ease of use - How easy it is for a user to connect to the network. For example, if a network has been installed with both Ethernet cables (wired) and Wi-Fi (wireless), it will be easier to use as users will have more options to connect to the network. Ideally, the connection process should be simple and not too complex. For inexperienced users, ease of use is a more important factor.
  • Performance - How much data the network can transfer in a given period of time. For example, a video editing company may require very high bandwidth for uploading the videos. Someone who only needs to view webpages may require relatively low bandwidth.
  • Availability - How easily available the network is to users. For example, people living in rural areas may not be able to access mobile broadband.
  • Accessibility - Ensuring equal access to all users that use a network, including those with disabilities, visual impairments, and hearing impairments. For example, people with disabilities may find certain networks, such as a wired one harder to connect than a wireless one, such as Wi-Fi.

2. User Needs

User needs are related to the tasks the users want to complete using the network. Different users will have different needs from their network and most networks are designed to meet specific user needs. For example, users who want to perform bandwidth-intensive tasks, like uploading large video files will need a high bandwidth.

3. Specifications

Specifications refer to the list of requirements a network needs in order for users to perform the tasks they want. Examples of specifications include data transfer rate, bandwidth, power consumption, and functionality. The specifications also include the required standards and can vary a lot.

4. Compatibility

Connectivity refers to how the network will be connected to, such as Wi-Fi or broadband. Before choosing a network, users will need to consider whether they can connect wirelessly, using a wired connection, and the wired and wireless technologies the network supports. Connectivity is balanced over other needs, such as speed, capacity, user experience, and reliability.

5. Connectivity

The cost of a network varies depending on the technologies used, the bandwidth, the type of network, and the support level from the ISP. For example, a dedicated private WAN will be much more expensive than a LAN and possibly cost over £1000 a month.

6. Cost

Efficiency refers to how efficiently tasks can be completed using the network. A well-designed network should allow users to complete tasks efficiently with as little wastage of resources as possible. The resources used are often time, energy, consumables, and staff. Over the years, networks have become more efficient. For example, Wi-Fi allows people to connect wirelessly without any cables and more portably. This is unlike dial-up networks which take a long time to wait for the computer to dial in to the network. This wasted time and was inefficient.

7. Efficiency

Compatibility refers to whether network equipment can communicate with other devices it is being used with. Any new hardware, software, or devices need to be compatible with existing networks. For example, a smartphone with the latest Wi-Fi standard or 5G would not be any faster if the access point or mobile network doesn't support it.

8. Implementation

Implementation refers to the time involved with putting a new network in effect. This involves the following:

  • Timescales - The time it takes for a new network to be delivered or implemented. Sometimes, the delivery time of a new network may be too long for the user's needs. For example, fibre optic cable connections often require the installation of new cables, which takes a long time. Timescales also need to consider the time taken to install the network, get it running, and train staff.
  • Testing - Ensuring the new network works correctly and is compatible, stable, functional, and secure. Before the implementation of a network, a test strategy will often be developed. Some networks will require more testing than others.
  • Downtime - The amount of time users will be without the network. Downtime may need to be scheduled as the old network services may be unavailable whilst implementing the new network. There may be a second internet connection and spare hardware to use during the implementation period.

9. Productivity

Productivity refers to how quickly tasks can be completed when using the network. Downtime would have a great impact on productivity as it wouldn't be possible to access the resources of the network whilst it is down.

10. Security

Security refers to how safe the network is from security threats and attacks, such as viruses, malware, and hacking. When transmitting confidential data across large distances, security is an important consideration. Networks can be made secure using encryption, user access restrictions, firewalls, two-factor authentication, and physical security measures.


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