What Is a Network?



Before working in the Business Operations Department at an IT Support company, I lived in a bubble of blissful ignorance, free of terms like “firewalls” and “switches.” But those days have long passed. Now I hear these terms — and more — on a daily basis and have more than once been confused by the conversations around me, as well as items that come across my desk. So I decided I would like to learn the basics. Thanks to a caring Account Manager, Curt Kelley at Everon, who initiated a “Back to Basics” training course, I can now understand the basic terms and functions of a Network. You can, too:

Taking a look at the diagram, let’s start at the top with “The Cloud.” This term always made me nervous because I didn’t understand what it was or how it was different from the internet. Curt explained that it’s pretty much just a rebranded name for “The Internet” — or where all the data is coming from.

Image created by Curt Kelley.

This data is transmitted from the cloud to your ISP (Internet Service Provider), then to you through your “modem” or “router.”  This modem, or router, device receives service from your ISP and allows you to access the Cloud.  For a lot of us, in our homes, this is pretty much the extent of our network. But for our businesses there are a few more devices involved.

Moving down the chain we see the firewall. Basically what the firewall does is put up a barrier between your network (all your internal information/devices) and the Internet so nobody can see your personal  information from outside your network. The firewall acts as roadblock from the Internet to your network.

Next we see the switch or “hub” as it is sometimes called. The switch is basically an outlet strip that allows all your printers, workstations, phones, wireless, and server to be connected. I know we all know what phones are, but what I did not know was that VoIP phones are different from normal “plug into the wall” type phones. These are phones that you use via your Internet connection. VoIP stands for  Voice Over Internet Protocol.

Servers also plug into the switch and hold all of your internal data. Also, when you log onto your computer, this is the device that you are logging onto to verify that you are who you say you are. This device authenticates your credentials and allows you access to the network. Lastly,  workstations are another word for your laptop or desktop computer setup, printers and the wireless Internet access are pretty self-explanatory, but these also are plugged in through the switch.

I hope this helps you, like it did me, to have a better understanding of network basics. If you need IT support or would like to install additional devices in your network — you can always contact us at Everon 888-244-1748 (or email us at [email protected]). We’re here for you 24/7, 365.

An Explanation of Different Printer Setups for Different Types of Environments



Hello.  Someone asked me recently, “Why would I want to share out my printer, instead of installing it on every computer?” Thus, I want to discuss the different scenarios. There are many methods to use when it comes to printing; I am going to talk about some of the most common. This post is not to say what is right or wrong, or even a set of instructions on how to do something. Its sole purpose is to inform people on 3 of the most common printer setups that majority of people utilize. (If there is any confusion or you have questions, please reach out to a tech here at Everon — we can help clarify and even set up an new print environment.)

A print server environment is sort of like an octopus, with the server being the head, and the tentacles reaching out to all the other computers.

First off, I am going to talk about the most common business practice, and that is using a print server. In a print server environment there is a server that manages the printer and all the connections to this printer. The server stores the drivers needed for many OS types. The workstations will connect to the printer via the network share and will look at the server for the driver that that computer needs. This is probably the best way to manage your environment if there will be quite a few people utilizing it.

Leather Coin Purse

This shared printer version is sort of like when you’re a kid, and you want to get something from the ice cream man, but you need to go through mom to get the money.

In smaller environments where a server is not in place, some people still use a shared method, but in a different way. One computer will connect to the printer, use the internet or the disk provided for the driver, and then will share it out via the wireless/wired network. In this method, when you connect another workstation to the shared out printer, it will show as “Printer Name” (on WORKSTATION1-PC) with workstation1-pc being the computer it was installed on and shared out from. The downfall to this method is that any secondary workstation that is connected to the printer via the primary computer sharing it is fully dependent on that primary PC being powered on and logged in.

Thirdly, another (probably more common) setup in a smaller environment is local installations on every workstation. This one usually takes a while to setup. It consists of hooking up the printer to every workstation, installing the driver, telling the computer to use the printer via wireless, and then repeating this process on all the other computers. This allows all of the workstations to independently print via a wireless connection, and they are not looking at any other device or connection for their printing ability. This is common in most homes, too, for people sharing a printer.

Again, if you have any questions or would like a more in-depth run down, please contact Everon!