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Discuss the various tradeoffs involved in using network computers

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By the due date assigned, submit your responses to the discussion question given below. Submit your responses to this Discussion Area.

Respond to the discussion question using the lessons and vocabulary found in the reading. Support your answers with examples and research, and cite your research using the correct APA format. Justify your answers using examples and reasoning.

Tradeoffs involved in using Network Computers

Over time, organizations have moved through different types of computers and networks. Each time a company changes, they do so because they believe they have the best system for their own needs. In today’s economy, this decision often comes down to using a networked computer or grid computing.


Discuss the various tradeoffs involved in using network computers (NCs) or grid computing as an organization standard. Describe how using your own computer at home or at work would be different if your computer was on a grid. Also, research distributed computing projects and include a link in your response to a public distributed computing research project.


Central Processing Unit (CPU): Manipulates symbols, letters, and numbers and controls the other devices in the computer systems.

Peripherals: Consists of input and output devices.

Primary and secondary storage: Stores data and program instructions temporarily before and after processing.

Communication devices: Enables the use of multimedia, which in turn combines two or more types of media into a computer-based application.

Let us now explore each component in detail:



The two components of the CPU are:


Arithmetic-Logic Unit (ALU): Performs the computer’s principal logic and arithmetic operations.

Control Unit: Controls and coordinates the other parts of the computer system such as input and output devices and storage.


The principal input devices are:



Pointing devices

Touch screens

Magnetic Ink and Optical Character Recognition (MICR), which are devices for check and bar code processing

Pen-based instruments

Digital scanners


Audio input devices such as microphones and tape players

Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID)

The principal output devices are:


Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) terminals

Light Emitting Diode (LED) terminals


Audio output devices such as speakers and headphones

Random Access Memory (RAM): Used for short-term storage of data during the execution of program instructions.

Read-Only Memory (ROM): Used for permanent storage of important program instructions like how to form various letters, numbers, and symbols with fonts.

The main secondary storage technologies are:


Magnetic Disk: Data is stored by means of magnetized spots on a hard or floppy disk.

Optical Disk: Stores massive quantities of data in a highly compact form.

Magnetic Tape: Large volumes of information are stored sequentially by means of magnetized and non-magnetized spots on a tape.

Communication Devices

Multimedia integrates two or more of the following types of media transforming these into a computer-based application:






Full-motion video

Still video


Classification of Computer Hardware

Computer hardware is classified as:


Mainframes: These are the largest computers used in very large business organization, research, and military applications.

Midrange computers: These are minicomputers used in factories, colleges, and research labs to act as servers that provide software, printers, and the Internet access to computers on its network.

Workstations: These are desktop computers with powerful graphic and mathematical capabilities.

Supercomputers: These are sophisticated and powerful computers that can perform complex and massive computations rapidly.

PCs: These are laptop or desktop computers.

Application software: Are programs written for a specific business application and used by end users and application programmers to run and develop applications.

System software: Are programs that control the IS by allocating, assigning, and scheduling system resources of a computer. System software mediates between application software and computer hardware and coordinates the various parts of the computer system with the OS. Several types of system software are used for OSs such as:

Microsoft Windows— XP, Vista, Version 7, and Version 8





Apple Macintosh


Data Processing

IS can collect and process data in the following two ways:


Batch Processing: Accumulates and stores transactions in a group until it is necessary to process them.

Online Processing: Enters transactions directly into the computer system and processes them immediately.


Data Management

Presentation Graphics

Word Processing


Web Browsers


Enterprise software, which includes middleware and enterprise application integration (EAI), are software tools to promote enterprise-wide integration of IS applications and business processes.


Object-Oriented Programming

Object-oriented programming tools include:


Java: an object-oriented programming language that can run on any computer and operating system.

HTML: a page description language to create web pages.

XML: a language that describes the meaning of the data in a web document so that the data can be used in computer programs.

Data Definition Language: Defines each data element as it appears in the database.

Data Manipulation Language: Manipulates the data in the database. End users and programmers use this language to extract data from the database according to their requests and applications.

Data Dictionary: Stores and organizes information about the data maintained in a database.

Relational DBMS: a type of logical database model that treats data as if it were stored in two-dimensional tables. It can relate data stored in one table to data in another as long as the two tables share a common data element.

Object-Oriented DBMS (OODBMS): a type of database that can store graphics and other types of data to support multimedia applications.

Object-Relational DBMS: a type of database that combines the capabilities of a relational DBMS to store conventional information and the capabilities of an object-oriented DBMS.

Online analytical processing (OLAP), also called multidimensional data analysis, can represent relationships among data as a multidimensional structure. This structure can be visualized as cubes of data. Smaller cubes exist within these cubes of data, allowing sophisticated data analysis. We can efficiently analyze data across the enterprise using a data warehouse on a platform that extracts current and historical data from several operational systems. The management of an organization uses this consolidated data for decision making. In addition, organizations can build smaller, decentralized warehouses called data marts. A data mart contains only a subset of the population of users.


Data mining analyzes large pools of data, including the contents of data warehouses or data marts, to find patterns and rules that can predict consumer behavior and guide decision making. Hypermedia databases allow data to be stored in nodes linked together in any user-specified pattern. The nodes can contain text, graphics, voice, full-motion video, or executable programs.


An internal database can be Web-enabled to facilitate users to access the database from any location. In a client/server environment, the DBMS receives SQL requests and provides the requested information directly to the CPU of the user at the client end. For Web access the middleware on the application server transfers data from the organization’s internal database to the web server. This server then delivers the information in the form of a web page to the web user.


The software for handling databases could be a custom program or a series of software scripts. Common gateway interface (CGI) is a specification for transferring information between a Web server and a program designed to accept and return data. The program could be written in any programming language including C++.NET, C#.NET, C, Java, Perl, or Visual Basic.NET.

Replicated databases: Can operate in an unconnected fashion. The entire database is duplicated on batch basis when online.

Partitioned databases: Consist of parts that are physically stored and maintained in one location and other parts that are stored and maintained in other locations. This design enables each remote CPU to store the necessary data to serve the local area. Changes and transactions from local files are synchronized with the central database on batch basis.

Telephone system

Mobile Cellular communications

Video conferencing

Corporate Web site



Internet access

Enterprise networking

Telecommunications systems are developed under three standards:


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP): Enables communication among diverse components on a telecommunications network. TCP/IP consists of a suite of protocols that has become the dominant model for achieving connectivity within the Internet and between computers and networks. Protocols provide a common set of rules that enables this communication.

Packet Switching: Makes efficient use of the network communications capability by splitting messages into small packets that travel independently along different paths on a network and then reassemble at the destination.

Client/Server Networks: Connect personal computers on a network to multiple servers. Client/server networks distribute most of the enterprise’s computing power to the factory floor and the desktop of every user.

Transmission Media

Principal transmission media for data transmission are:


Twisted copper telephone wire: This is the least expensive medium and can transmit low volumes of data.

Coaxial copper cable: This is expensive to install but can transmit high volumes of data.

Fiber-optic cable: This is also expensive to install but can transmit high volumes of data.

Wireless transmission: This is of three types:

Microwave: cost effective for large volume transmission over long distances

Satellite: cost effective for large volume transmission over long distances

Low-frequency radio: cost effective for infrared waves

LANs: Can connect a cluster of digital workstations and PCs within a 2,000-foot radius. A LAN is utilized for most corporate computing tasks. LANS might use the client/server or peer-to-peer architecture. LANs can be connected using the bus, ring, or star topology. Transmission media can be either wired or low-cost, high-speed wireless 802.11. Wi-Fi standards can also provide access to the Internet.

WANs: Are private networks that span broad geographic distances, ranging from several miles to continents.

Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs): Span an urban area.

Value-Added Networks (VANs): Market WAN services to companies that do not want to construct or maintain private networks.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM): Supports a transmission rate of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) to more than 9 gigabits per second (Gbps), parceling data into fixed 53-byte cells for transmitting data, audio, and video over the same network. ATM can transmit data from the computers of different suppliers to your desktop.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL): Operates over existing copper telephone lines to carry data, voice, and video but provides a higher transmission capacity than integrated services digital network (ISDN).

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL): Provides transmission speeds of 1.5 to 9 Mbps when receiving data and up to 640 Kilobits per second (Kbps) when sending data.

Frame relay: Relies on digital circuits that require less error checking than packet switching. It is a shared network service with a transmission rate of 56 Kbps to more than 40 Mbps.

ISDN: Transmits data at the rate of 128 Kbps. ISDN is an international standard for dial-up network access using existing local telephone lines that integrate data, image, video, and voice services.

Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL): Provides a transmission speed of 3 Mbps.

Cable modems: Operate over cable TV lines. Transmission speed is up to 30 Mbps. These modems provide high-speed access to corporate intranets and the web.

T1 Line: Provides data transmission speeds of 1.544 Mbps. A T1 line is a dedicated telephone connection that consists of 24 channels.

E-mail: reduces long-distance telephone charges and enables different sections of an organization to communicate.

Voice mail: digitizes the sender’s spoken message and transmits the message over a network. The message is then stored on a disk for later use.

Groupware: provides additional e-mail support for enterprise-wide communication and helps workgroups at different locations in the organization.

Fax: transmits scanned documents with text and graphics over telephone lines.

Teleconferencing: permits groups of people to talk simultaneously over a telephone or via e-mail.

Videoconferencing: provides the teleconferencing facility with an additional feature that allows people to see each other over video screens.

Data conferencing: permits groups of people to work on the same data simultaneously.

Digital information services: permits people to obtain information from outside the organization instantly without leaving their workstations.

Distance learning: delivers education to individuals at multiple locations. Your participation in this course is an example of distance learning.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): enables computer-to-computer exchange of standard transaction documents such as invoices, bills of lading, and purchase orders between two organizations.


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