We use our modern networks to connect many different devices. In this video, you’ll learn about VoIP phones, access control devices, cameras, IoT devices, and more.
We connect many different kinds of devices to our wired and our wireless networks. In this video, will give you an overview of these network devices. If you’re using a phone in a modern office, you’re probably using a voice over IP phone. This is different than the older style phones that we used to have that were analog telephones based on a POTS service. This POTS refers to the Plain Old Telephone Service that we would commonly use to connect to our telephone provider.
Voice over IP is a relatively complex technology, but having that voice communication can be incredibly important, especially if your business relies on that voice communication. From a networking perspective, all of our voice over IP phones are network devices.
We would plug them directly into the ethernet connections. Very often, they are powered from the ethernet connection using POE, or Power Over Ethernet. Because these devices are individual computers, they would perform the same DHCP process to obtain an IP address and communicate over the network to the voice over IP call managers.
Another challenge for the system administrator is not only making sure that the computers are connected to the network, but that the printers are properly connected to the network. This is a printer that provides either color or black and white output. And it’s usually printing out documents, photos, or other types of output.
We might also be connecting an AIO device to the network. This is an All-in-One device that not only provides printing, but it can also be a scanner, a copier, and a fax machine. The type of connectivity you’ll have for your printer will vary depending on the manufacturer. So this device might be connected to the network using 802.11 wireless, it might be a wired ethernet connection, or it may be plugging into a print server or a computer using USB or a Bluetooth connection.
In many offices, you would gain access to a room or through a locked door using a card reader like this one. This uses a proximity reader to recognize when a smart card is brought nearby. And if the person holding that smart card is allowed access to the room, this card reader will unlock the door.
We could also have a similar access control device that is looking at a fingerprint or retina to be able to provide biometric authentication. These biometric readers aren’t usually storing a picture of your fingerprint, they’re instead storing a mathematical representation of the fingerprint. And next time you use that finger to open the door, it performs that same mathematical function to see if those fingers match. These devices are usually connected to the network through ethernet and they usually obtain an IP address using DHCP or through a static assignment.
If you have cameras monitoring your facility, then you’re probably using CCTV, or Closed Circuit Television. These are cameras that can provide advanced capabilities such as motion recognition so you don’t have to constantly be watching the camera. Instead, the camera will tell you when there’s any motion. You might also have these devices identify object detection or be able to identify a license plate or a person’s face.
Most of the time you have multiple cameras that are all connected back to a central recording device and you’re storing that video for long periods of time. These multiple cameras are usually communicating back to these surveillance systems over your ethernet network. And you’re usually accessing the cameras through an IP address that’s been assigned to the camera. This provides you with the ability to view many cameras at once, and usually is providing high-definition visibility.
Another important network device in our organization is the HVAC. This is the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning system. These are very complex systems that deal with the heating and cooling of our environments. And usually these have been designed and engineered by someone who focuses on heating and cooling. We’ll usually connect all of our HVAC sensors and management stations together over our ethernet network, which means we can sit at one central management station and manage all of the heating and cooling for the entire organization.
Through the years, we’ve begun extending the capabilities of these network connections to devices that originally didn’t have a network connection. These are Internet of Things devices, or IoT devices. So you might have appliances such as refrigerators or the speakers that we’re using connecting to the network, usually over a wireless connection.
In your home, you may even have thermostats and other type of temperature controls connected to your wireless network. And you might also have doorbells or garage door openers that are IoT devices. Since these IoT devices could be a security risk, many organizations will segment all of these IoT devices onto their own networks. And many times at home, you can provide this functionality as well through a guest network on your wireless router.
Large-scale industrial systems have their own way of networking called SCADA. This is Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition systems. You might also hear this referred to as ICS, or Industrial Control systems. This means that you can have a central computer that’s managing all of these systems.
So organizations such as power generation, manufacturing, or refining that has these large industrial systems can manage this through a centralized network connection. We’re usually receiving real-time information from these devices over the SCADA network, and we’re able to control them from this central management console.
As you can imagine, with systems as important as power generation, you’ll want to have a SCADA network that is completely separate from any other network connection. This really requires extensive segmentation on the network to ensure that you have the safest data network possible.