What exactly is a lan messenger and how does it work?

LAN messengers are quite simple. They are a messenger that does not connect to an Internet. Like their Internet counterparts, they allow someone to communicate with someone else. Unlike their Internet counterparts, they cannot communicate across the world. This restriction is fine in an office setting where co-workers may need to communicate with each other just to see how work on a particular project or item has gone. Dell Computers, for example, uses a version with Google in several of their campuses.

Because a Lan messenger is simple, some network operating systems include a basic messaging system in their capabilities. Linux and Unix both include a basic messaging system. This system has no GUI and must be run from the command line, but this does not bother Linux system administrators. Administrators of Linux/Unix based systems know about the write and wall (write all) commands. They know how to send messages to anyone logged on to a system, even if the system is spread out among several workstations.

While this is convenient for those operating systems where BASH may stand for Bourne Again Shell, it does not help people who use the Windows operating system. Windows, as the descendant of the Disk Operating System of personal computing’s early years, did not have built in networking capabilities. Novell’s Netware, which still exists, was the first network operating systems for computers using the Intel Platform. It still exists, although it is typically packaged with SuSE Linux rather than Windows now.

Because the Lan messenger capability is not built into Windows, an office that wants to implement such a system needs to either switch their systems over to an entirely different operating systems or simply install a software package that allows such functionality. Because the latter option requires less time, less money and no additional training, most businesses choose the latter. Economics often dictate business decisions.

What functions should a business manager look for in a Lan messenger? A good business manager knows the basic functions, and they should know to listen to their IT staff. The IT staff, after all, are specialists who are more likely to know how a given software package can affect a network. Number of users are a concern. Certainly, a business manager wants a package that allows everyone to connect, but the network latency introduced by the new program must also be taken into consideration. Lan messengers that make the entire network unusable should be immediately stricken from the list.

While a Lan messenger can be a valuable communication tool, the business should ask if it’s ultimately necessary. There may be software already in place that has this function, or software that can be used that’s functionally equivalent. If information security is a concern, than companies should already be using LAN messengers that do not connect to the Internet. While this does not stop a hacker from tapping into these communications, it makes the process harder. A hacker must get into a company’s internal network to sniff out these messages.



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