Communications and network software is used for the setup and management of digital communication networks such as local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN), electronic mail or email, fax or digital telecopying, audio and video networks, and wireless communication systems. Communications and network software is designed to integrate with standards-compliant hardware. Communications software enables organizations to transmit data or audio/video packets across telephone lines and modems. Voice communication software monitors and enhances the clear, real-time transmission of voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) through hardware meeting Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11e standards. Computer communication software includes office productivity applications that provide e-mail, digital audio and video meeting, and product presentation software.
Communications and network software includes applications to monitor, secure, manage, and enhance LANs and WANs. Network monitoring software is designed to capture statistical information about network protocols; traffic performance over bridges, routers, and ports; and packet movement through gateways and firewalls. Network security software features include key encryption, port scanning, security patch alerting and management, firewall monitors, user and group authentication, share permission monitoring, and control over portable storage. Network management software typically utilizes an information database to diagram networks, monitor bandwidth, and manage network assets such as servers, primary/secondary domain controllers (PDC/SDC), switches, and hubs. Network utility software assists administrators in bridging the gap between heterogeneous networks. It provides scripting capabilities, file handling and processing, and input/output metrics measurement through Web-based or architecture-neutral applications like Java.
Suppliers of communications and network software include companies that develop and sell proprietary applications, value-added resellers (VAR), and open-source community projects. Open source vendors provide source code with communications and network software and distribute it under some type of public license measure. The costs of such products are often much lower than those of proprietary vendors or VARs that distribute under per-user or per-unit programs. Communications and network software may be offered in individual modules, but is often sold as multi-solution platforms. This software should comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications for certain programming languages (e.g., C, C++, Lisp), and be compatible with most network hardware devices and appliances that meet IEEE standards.