In a previous post, we talked about the essential equipment you need for a reliable and functional office network. Now, we lay out a list of considerations to take when setting up your network to ensure that everything goes without a hitch, from planning to implementation and beyond. Even if you decide to hire a managed services provider (MSP) to do the job, it pays to keep these guidelines in mind.
- Choose a network type
Generally, you have a choice between wired and wireless networks, but hybrid networks are becoming more prevalent nowadays.
- In a wired network, devices like computers, printers, routers, and switches are connected to a central access point via Ethernet cables. A wired network is faster, more reliable, and more secure than a wireless network. It’s also less prone to interference. However, given the different hardware you need, it is expensive and difficult to set up.
- Except for the cable that connects your wireless router to your internet service provider (ISP), no wires or cables are used to establish connections within a wireless network. Instead, radio waves connect your devices to your network and to the internet. Since a wireless network doesn’t require you to run cables, it’s cheaper to install and maintain. It also allows for mobility and flexibility; using a wireless router, the Wi-Fi signal is amplified so that you stay connected and are able to do work even if you’re far from the router.
- A hybrid network contains both Ethernet and Wi-Fi standards. In such setups, Ethernet cables might be used to attach storage devices and printers to the network, which your staff can then access through devices that are Wi-Fi-enabled. While a hybrid network brings businesses the best of both worlds, it can be costly and complex to configure, install, and manage.
- Assess your hardware and software needs
The basic equipment you need for your network includes cabling, a modem, routers, and switches. If you choose to implement a wireless network or a hybrid one, you should consider investing in multiple routers and Wi-Fi range extenders. These will ensure that every square inch of your workspace gets enough bandwidth. Additional pieces of hardware for a hybrid network include hybrid routers, hubs, and switches for connecting both wired and wireless devices.
If you let your employees work from home, you can set up a virtual private network (VPN). This will allow your staff to remotely log in to your network on any device on which the matching VPN client software has been installed and configured.
You will also need network operating software for creating and managing user accounts, configuring and controlling access to network resources, and providing communication services. If you have at least 10 computers in your network, you might have to get extra network managing software for monitoring traffic and optimizing hardware.
- Think security
Make sure to deploy network security measures to protect your company’s most important asset: your data. Here are some you should consider:
- Firewalls to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic, and allow or block specific traffic based on security rules defined by your network administrator
- Access controls to block unauthorized users and devices
- Intrusion detection and prevention (IDP) to identify, mitigate, and block cyberthreats, including malware and social engineering attacks
- Anti-malware to prevent infection by and to root out malicious software
- Mobile device management (MDM) to protect the laptops, tablets, and smartphones your staff use from potential threats
The actual process of installation falls to the hands of your MSP. For your small- to medium-sized business in Pennsylvania, Nye Technical Services can be trusted to provide top-notch network design, installation, and monitoring solutions. Schedule a consultation today and enjoy a robust network infrastructure that supports all your business needs.
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