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CIS8009 Communication And Networking, University Of Southern Queensland, Australia

Management of Business Telecommunications

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Abstract: Many enterprises have adopted technology in their ways of doing business. Technology actualizes productivity. This report seeks to highlight the importance of Point of Sale (POS) systems to industry. Using a relevant study case -Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery-the impact of POS to any enterprise will be measured.

The report seeks to define, interrogate the effectiveness of POS and recommend telecommunication options of POS. At the same time, it will expose the dangers and risks posed when using a POS in regards to security, privacy, and confidentiality.

Before 2018, Four Seasons-operated manually. They used manual registers to track and maintain its inventory, determine profits and make decisions. However, they realized that they were not working to their full potential hence the need for a new strategy (JoSEP et al., 2010). The $1M business turned to POS. Use of Information Technology in business operations and its positive effects. The impact of a technology strategy to any size of a company explains the advantages of Point Of Sale systems in inventory management. How sales data is business intelligence.

Introduction: It is common among small and medium-sized enterprises to use a manual strategy in its operations because of limited resources. Manual registers and other traditional methods limit the effectiveness of a business. However, it's possible to use information technology to revolutionize a small industry.

Although Information Technology is broad, a functional component of the wind of change is the Point of Sale system that has been adopted by our case study. The system has allowed the business owner to acquire crucial business data directly from the sales transactions. The system processes and stores information as it updates the inventory in real time. The system reduces business dependence on manual sales entries to manage inventory (Hult, Hurley and Knight, 2004). Although it somehow works like a typical cash register, it provides more functionality in inputting, following up and leveraging information to operate the business.

Task: How these two organisations can improve business operations by changing their communication systems and network elements and by adopting new network technologies and/or improvements to management thereof.

Question 1: How could adopting technology facilitate decision making?

Answer: The accuracy of inventory data that is stored by the system aids in decision making. The system provides a detailed report on an inventory item, in that, how many were bought, damaged and turned into profit. It helped business owners realize which products were more profitable and gave them more insight into their enterprise. Actual production cost achieved assisted businesses to focus on producing the beneficial.

Generally, POS changed the way decisions came around. Product prices were manipulated accurately after the POS report and production costs lowered by a considerable margin.

The new system helped Four Seasons make more money and better decisions which focus on growth. The information system gives businesses of sizes the competitive edge and enhances operations.

With many benefits to a business, POS is risky. Mobile POS systems are vulnerable to fake swiping, impersonation and attacks. Other threats include; poor networks, machine problems, and software incompetence.

Information technology is the use of computers to acquire, bank and manipulate data for business. Point of sale is the physical location where customers make purchases. However, a POS system makes the transaction more efficient and links the transaction data to the business network. It manages inventory, tracks sales data, stores and distributes sales data. Along the way, it keeps a record of sales history. The information processed is later used in managing the business.

A typical POS terminal is made up of; computer hardware and software check out device (printer) and software. They also possess a credit and debit card reader.

Question 2: Explain the Advantages and disadvantages.

Answer: A good POS system offers real-time purchase solutions, is easily customizable to adapt to your business, is more efficient than the traditional methods and is quick to detect malware, scammers, and fraud. The main advantage of POS is the ability to suit any business type, model, and size. Other benefits are; POS systems are readily available in the market and minimize on production costs. Transactions are quick, makes managers aware of depleting stock in real time, allows customer relation management, makes accounting easy, allows access to past purchases, ease ordering, fastens card transactions, details receipts for customers, susceptible to human errors, allows quick manipulation of product prices, control sales, shift management and enhances overseeing promotions. With advancements in technology, POS systems are ghastly evolving with mobile and web-based POS options entering the market. In a web-based POS, there is no need for installation. The system hosted by a third party gives the business owner the liberties of not worrying about software maintenance and updates (Zhou, Ganti and Andrews, 2010). The enterprise data is also backed up in external servers hence can help in tracking wrong and fraudulent activities without internal interference. It is also a cheaper solution compared to the traditional POS systems.

However, initial costs of installing POS are high, training of staff is expensive, and the system and hardware can pose challenges hence stop production. In a web-based option, the end user has to pay monthly fees and will be vulnerable to slow processing in case of poor internet connection. POS is a victim to external and internal attacks. The system can also be affected by staff negligence, incompatible hardware, poor programming, insecurity and lousy practising habits. If the system is under threat, customer credit information could fall into the wrong hands. Illegal information acquisition would go against confidentiality assurance that enterprises give to customers.

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Question 3: What type of risks does the POS bring and how to protect the business against the threats?

Answer: POS integrates into any business. It brings many benefits to an enterprise, especially in its management. In managing inventory, ordering, customer relations, sales, records, and shift. The system also networks with other systems in the business making processes fast and efficient in the long run.

The risk of having POS in business makes it easy prey for attacks from skimmers. Nonetheless, the benefits outweigh the risks too great extent. Web-based POS systems are beneficial than cable-based options.

After deploying a POS system, Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery began to realize the products that made the significant contribution to the profits. They also smartly managed their inventory. I reckon sales increased due to the speed of transaction of the POS. Workers became more focused on operating the business rather than data entry and record keeping. The POS allowed the company to have real-time data to make useful decisions pertaining to the organization. The efficiency of the company links to the adoption of Information Technology.The strategic move gave the company a competitive edge over its competitors. The accuracy of data relayed by the system helped take the business to the next level.

An enterprise that is fast to adopt emerging information technology trends is at an advantage.POS is a great asset to any business. The best POS is web-based. Although it brings some security risks with it, the ultimate solution is installing the right malware prevention software and firewalls. Among other recommendations; enforcing IT policies, restricting remote access, purchasing industry certified POS options (Melville, Kraemer and Gurbaxani, 2004).

For the business that is interested in creating a physical network of its devices, a Local Area Network will be the best option. Use of Ethernet to connect the different devices on the network will be necessary. Other cabling options are fiber optic cable, twisted pair cable, and coaxial cable. An Ethernet crossover cable is a twisted cable. It's an alternative for a network switch or router. A network switch usually connects computing devices. Fiber optic is a guaranteed solution for networks that cover extensive areas and distances (wide area network and metropolitan area network). There are two types of optical fiber cables which are, multimode fiber and single-mode fiber. Although using fiber optic is expensive, it offers higher bandwidth compared to copper options (Karlan and Valdivia, 2011).

Coaxial cables are made of copper and can be easily bent. They are commonly efficient for television and broadband connections. A Patch cable which usually connects optical devices to electronic devices and vice-versa will be required. It is used for signal routing and relatively short (connecting computer to barcode reader).

Their size and functionality define computer networks. The extent of a network is orchestrated by the geographic area it occupies and the number of devices that make up the network. Based on size arises local area network (LAN), personal area network (PAN), metropolitan area network (MAN) and wide area network (WAN).

No matter the size of a business, an information technology strategy should be in place.

Other than using POS to manage sales and reports, Four Seasons should realize its full potential.POS can be used as an accounting tool to better customer relations, manage staff shifts, automated ordering, and manage promotions and record customer card information securely from malicious parties.

The report has found the importance of IT to business and has highlighted the impact it has on the same. By studying and discussing Four Seasons, it finds the use of IT for business growth to be practical. It also brings to the light the risks of such a strategy and at the same time brings forth the solution to the same.

The report finds IT is crucial to any business and works for every business owner. It doesn't leave behind the emergence of new technology in the POS niche'. To add to that, it recommends the better option POS system (web-based).

Four seasons represents the potential of technology to benefits business and helps them became flexible in a competitive world. The report finds adoption of IT (specifically POS) to be the most significant reason for increased operational efficiency at Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery.

Apart from the adopting the POS system, Four Seasons could do an overhaul to technology as a whole.

Network Connectivity: Network connectivity refers to the process of interconnecting various entities of a network to achieve communication. Connectivity is done through routers, gateways, and switches. The term also includes the measure of the efficiency of the devices connected to the network. To have a network, topology has to be considered. Network topology describes the layout of a network as a whole. Various topologies include; tree design, star design, hub design, and linear design.

In a computer network, devices exchange data and information between each other by either cable media or wireless media. Devices in the network that participate in data exchange are called nodes. Nodes include; phones, PCs, phones, etc. However, most communication protocols are layered. It means there is a defined procedure how communication and exchange is performed systematically.

Computer networks enable availability of worldwide web, sharing of printers, faxes, scanners and use of various communication applications. Networks differ in the manner of transmission, communication protocols, network size, and topology. Computer networking borrows from various disciplines which include; telecommunications, Information technology, computer engineering and science, electrical engineering. This is done to realize the efficiency of a network to communicate and share data (Chen, Chiang and Storey, 2012).

The primary function of a network is to allow the sharing of computing resources and data. Users of a specific network have resources connected to the network at their disposal for use. Networks use distributed computing to access various resources on the network and complete tasks.

Principles of Communication in networks: Communication in networks refers to the exchange of data and information between two or more computers or other nodes which belong to a particular network. A network is established by connection through cable or wireless. Within a network, the data is exchanged in packets to and from different nodes. If a network is situated within a small geographic area, it's called a LAN (Local Area Network). Networks are named according to the size of the geographic area they cover. Hence, a system that is larger than LAN in size is referred to as MAN (Metropolitan Area Network). The Internet qualifies to be a Wide Area Network since it's more significant than a MAN that covers a region (Timme, 2007). A WAN connects regions in a broader perspective regarding a geographic area. This implies that computers in different areas can communicate with each other.

Within a network, there are computers which store shared files and the networks operating system. These computers are called servers. They dispose of network resources to all entities in the network. Some servers are resource specific. The computers that access the servers are termed to be clients in the network. For computers to be able to communicate they need to be connected. Thus, there is a need for transmission media. The term refers to the media used to connect the different entities of the network (Ripeanu, 2001).

Each entity in the network has a network interface card. The card facilitates the sending and receiving of data between the device and the network. Within each computer in the network, there is a local Operating System which runs the PC, and within the servers of the network, there is a network operating system that runs the network and facilitates communication of computers in the network.

Within any computer network, there is a hub that acts as a distribution center. IN that, the hub receives requests from any node on the network, and it will, in turn, send a link to all computers which will choose to act on the link if the request is meant for them.

The transmission media in a network are made up of optical cables, electrical cable, and radio waves. The cable alternative is mainly used in LAN whereas radio waves transmission is standard in MAN.

Commonly used cabling or somewhat wired technology include; coaxial cable, twisted pair cable, and optical fiber cable. Wireless alternatives are made up of cellular technologies, terrestrial microwave, a communications satellite, and free space optical communication. The mobile option divides a geographic area into multiple regions (Parasuraman, and Grewal, 2000). Each region owns a transmitter that facilitates communication to the other regions. In the terrestrial microwave technology, the transmitters and receivers are satellite dishes. This means that communication is one-sided. The satellite dishes are placed apart from each other in different locations.

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Protocols: A network protocol refers to the rules and procedures of communication within a network. The protocols outline how a device can connect to another device and communicate effectively. The states also organize how messages of communication between the devices are sent and received. This varies to the level of performance desirability. 

It is common for modern networks to use packet technique to send and receive messages in the system. The packets are in pieces and are reassembled at their final destination. Protocols are designed to suit different scenarios and instances.

Internet protocols are a set of protocols mainly used for networking.They are the most widely used form of protocol. They include transmission control protocol (TCP), User datagram protocol (UDP), Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and File transfer protocol (FTP). All these protocols conjoin the Internet Protocol (IP) and deliver surplus network capabilities. High-level protocols in the facilitate communication with other applications while low-level protocols manage interactions with network hardware and adapters.

Wireless networks include; WIFi, Bluetooth and LTE. Wireless network protocols are protocols designed for use on wireless networks. These protocols are developed to manage wireless networks that different security levels and data rates.

Network routing protocols are designed to be used by network routers on the internet. A routing protocol manages routers on the internet by identifying other routers and managing paths of data between their receipt and sender. Commonly used routing protocols include; EIGRP, BGP, OSPF.

Network protocols are essential in the communication of the different entities. The protocols must be authorized by the sender and receiver of data on the network to have the free flow of data and resource sharing. The protocols must also be applied to software and hardware nodes that communicate on a network. The different types of networking protocols are mainly communication protocols, security protocols, and management protocols.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing describes the sharing of resources over the internet provided by a pool of system resources. The term is also used to refer to distributed computing.

Cloud computing allows the business to focus on their main enterprise rather than focus on how to leverage their computing power and infrastructure (Ritter and Gemünden, 2004). This minimizes the infrastructure costs of any firm by a big chunk. It is also of benefit to businesses because services and applications are always accessible and running at a faster rate. All this is achieved through minimal manageability and less maintenance.Cloud computing has made available storage power and processing power for a minimal expense.
The main aim of cloud computing is to make all technologies available without knowledge of the technology is a necessity. On top of that, it makes business ignore IT and ICT obstacles and focus on turning a profit. This is achieved through virtualization of devices.

Virtualization integrates a device into one or more virtual computing devices. Hence the devices can be easily managed and used. Devices with no task can be assigned to perform unattended tasks thus utilizing the computing power of the passive devices. Automation realizes this on a broader scale. Virtualization allows the tools to be used wholly.

In cloud computing, security is optimum because of the centralization of data. This implies that cloud providers offer security options to clients that could not afford to tackle the threat as their own. This is achieved because there is pulling together of resources to address an issue. If data is distributed across many virtual devices, there is a reason to increase the measures of security.

Maintenance of cloud computing applications is also quite easy since there is no need to install the app on every device. Cloud also offers independence of devices since the infrastructure is never on site. Pooling of resources and virtualization is what makes cloud computing viable indifferent and most circumstances. Performance and productivity increases where cloud computing is applied.

There are various ways of delivering cloud computing as a service. This is because there are different models. They include; Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS). These models are independent of each other.

Cloud computing can be deployed in various models too. These include; hybrid cloud, public cloud, private cloud, distributed cloud, big data cloud, and HPC cloud.

Conclusion: Network architecture describes the manner in which computers are organized in a network and how tasks are delegated to each of the machines. The most common types of network architecture are peer to peer and client /server architecture.

In a peer to peer (P2P) network, the tasks are assigned to each and every computer. The essence is considering all computers as similar. In this network the computers are all equal and don't operate from a central control point. This model is mostly used for file sharing. In case a computer in the network stops working, the system still works.

In a client/server network, all clients request resources from a single source. One server manages these requests and makes available all supplies needed. However, there are servers which provide all services while others are just specific. The servers run software which manages the entire network. Depending on the needs of the system, the servers can be one or more. Servers are computers which possess high computing power and storage power.

A client/server network is designed in layers.

Regarding business, the type of architecture to be used depends on the size, budget, and wants of a market. In that, if a company is significant, the peer to peer architecture is suitable. If the corporation desires high speed of processing, client /server is viable due to an ability to prioritize tasks.

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