Developing a Computer Network for Bead Bar

Bead Bar is a growing business with a great opportunity. A computer network is just what they need to stay connected and in the loop. A computer network will allow the Bead Bar to share information so that they can stay updated on the many changes going on within their business.

Bead Bar was founded in 1988 by Meredith S. out of Canaan, Connecticut. She started with one Bead Bar studio where customers would come to create customized bead jewelry. Using only beads, wire, and string, they would make necklaces, bracelets, and other types of jewelry as well.
Today the Bead Bar consists of three different divisions: (1) studios, (2 franchises and (3) Bead Bar on Board. The studio division oversees the company’s six bead bar studios. Along with the original, there are now two studios in New York City, one on Long Island, one in Washington, D.C., and one in Boston, Massachusetts. The franchise division sells a complete beading supply package to businesses that want to open their own bead studio. The division is responsible for fulfilling franchisees’ supply requirements. There are currently five franchises (Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; and Miami, Florida) (Malaga, 2005). Bead Bar on Board is a portable bar that is can be placed on cruise ships. Cruise ship employees also purchase their supplies through the Bead Bar.

The company has 15 full-time employees and about 20 part-time employees who work in the studios helping customers and working the cash register. Annual revenues for the past three years have averaged $1.5 million (Malaga, 2005). Senior staff includes President and Owner: Meredith S., Vice President of Studios: Suzanne S., Vice President of Franchises: Leda H., Vice President of Bead Bar on Board: Mitch H., Chief Financial Officer: Julia R., Vice President of Marketing and Sales: Miriam M., Vice President of Operations and Purchasing: Rachel S., and Director of Human Resources: Jim R.

My recommendations for the Bead Bar are as follows. Though relatively expensive in comparison to other network topologies, a Ring Network Topology would be our best bet. It may take a little more to get it up and running on the front end, but the long-term benefits will pay off. When it comes to network architecture, it would best suit the Bead Bar’s needs if we were to install a client/ server setup. We would set up a wide area network so that out of state organizations, as well as Bead Bar on Board can stay connected and in the loop.

I have decided upon installing a Ring Network Topology for a couple of reasons. A Ring Network Topology will keep the Bead Bar connected with a reliable setup in comparison to other topologies. A Ring Network Topology is a setup in which all computers are connected via cables to the computer to their left and their right. With this type of setup if one system were to malfunction it would not hinder the rest of the operation. A network technician would then be able to come in and troubleshoot the network without interrupting the entire connection.

Another common Network Topology is the Bus Network Topology. Although this type of topology is a little cheaper and easier to install than the one I have chosen, a simple error at one location could cause a complete network interruption. With so many locations we simply could not risk total system shut down. The Star Network Topology is also a common topology. This type of topology is also cheaper to install but has some of the same faults. If the hub were to fail in this type of setup the entire network would suffer. This type of setup has also been known to “bottleneck” meaning when too many people are accessing the network at once the system will slow down.

I would like to go with a client/ server based network architecture as opposed to a peer-to-peer network. This is a more stable and powerful network architecture than a peer-to-peer network. In a client/ server based network one computer acts as the server while the other computers act as clients. The server is a powerful computer with a fast processor and a lot of memory that is capable of handling simultaneous requests from clients (Malaga, 2005).

In a peer-to-peer network, all computers act as servers and clients. In this type of setup, all computers are capable of sharing their resources such as disk space, memory, and printers. A disadvantage to this setup is that all computers must have their own printer. With a client/ server network, all computers connected to the server will be able to access one printer. This will save money and the result will be a much more powerful and secure connection.

All in all, the network that I have chosen will be the most powerful while also being the most secure and reliable network. The advantages to installing a Ring Network Topology is that with this particular setup if one computer or location is malfunctioning the problem goes no further than that location. The only disadvantages are that this setup is a little more expensive than other topologies and it can be a little more difficult to install than other topologies. I think that the price difference is worth the reliability.

With a client/ server based network architecture, the network will get more processing power than they would be using a peer-to-peer network. One computer acting as the server also keeps the connection more secure with only one person as administrator. Another advantage to this setup is that all computers at a location will be able to utilize one printer. This will save time and money because we will not have to purchase a printer for each computer, and it will save the time that it would take to install several printers as opposed to one.

The Bead Bar is a thriving organization with only the need for a strategically developed computer network to assist in its growth. I believe that the best setup to ensure reliability and security is a Ring Network Topology with a client/ server based network architecture. The Ring Network Topology, though slightly more expensive than other topologies, will be the best choice because it is reliable. With other topologies when one component fails the whole system fails. This is not the case with a Ring Network Topology. A client/ server based network architecture will ensure network security and reliability. With one powerful server, they can assure all processing needs will be met efficiently.

References
Malaga, Ross A. (2005). Information Systems Technology, Retrieved on February 2, 2009, from https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/classroom/ic/classroom.aspx

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