The LAN administrator provides support and management of the local area network within a company or non-profit organization. This management involves a number of functions that have to do with regular maintenance of the network, overseeing enhancements and upgrades to the local area network, or LAN, and implementing and maintaining backup systems that can be pressed into service in the event of a network failure.
As part of regular maintenance, the administrator will monitor the daily activity on the network, ensuring that the resources of the company are used in ways that are within the standards set for employee usage. Often, the network administrator for a local area network will conduct random testing of various programs and protocols on the network, to ensure that all the components are working within reasonable limits. As part of the ongoing maintenance of the network, he or she will also track the status of software and equipment licensing agreements, ensuring that the every license is renewed at the proper time.
Taking care of upgrades to existing software or installing new software is also part of the responsibilities of a LAN administrator. Upgrades may include the installation of new versions of existing software, or managing the installation of any fixes that the manufacturer of the software may release periodically. Administrators for local area networks generally download the fix or new version onto a desktop and then run scenarios on the new release. This makes it possible to identify and fix many issues before deploying the fix or version across the network. Once there is a reasonable degree of certainty that the upgrade will work well on the network, the administrator makes the necessary changes to the servers and other equipment, as well as modifying the files on desktops that access the network, if necessary.
An important part of the work of a LAN administrator is to create and manage a means of redundancy for the network. This means creating a plan or series of plans that will allow the company to continue to function with little or no down time in the event of a network failure, which often requires creating a backup server and arranging for both the main server and the backup to update on a daily basis. The network administrator will run diagnostics on the backup server, just as he or she conducts diagnostics on the main server. Along with a backup server, he or she often arranges for and regularly tests a secondary power supply that can power the network if necessary. Implementing and maintaining a redundant network that can take over functions within less than a minute ensures that employees can continue to work with a minimum amount of delay.