How To Set Up An Office Network – Your computer network infrastructure is the backbone of your business. All your devices, applications, software and most of your work are supported or built on the computer network. Therefore, planning, designing, purchasing hardware, and securing a business computer network should be a high priority for your organization.
To build a computer network for your business, you need to consider a few things. Making a computer network work effectively in a business environment is very different from setting up a home or home network. Enterprise network design has a high degree of complexity and security challenges. Although the type of network for your business depends on your needs, the components of your computer network will remain the same.
How To Set Up An Office Network
And here’s a description of a simple office network setup: The Internet connection comes via cable from your ISP (Internet Service Provider). This cable connects to your router. The firewall filters traffic through the cable, which then connects to a switch. All devices on the network gain access to the Internet by connecting to this switch.
Setting Up Your Home Office
Now, let’s see each of the network devices in detail. We won’t delve into the technical details, but instead focus on what you need to know to choose the right equipment to design and configure the best possible network for your business.
A modem, short for modulator-demodulator, is a piece of hardware on your network that helps your computer and other devices connect to the Internet. This device converts the digital data that the computer understands into analog data that is transmitted over the cable.
The modems you often see are most likely cable modems that support DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification), which is used to transmit the Internet over fiber-coaxial hybrid cables. This way you can get TV, cable internet, digital phone line through the same cable.
With the increasing use of fiber optics, modems are becoming obsolete. Fiber optic cables can transmit higher bandwidth over longer distances. Since you need high data transmission in your office, you are more likely to use an optical connection. In this case, you will not need a modem to connect to the network.
P2p With Local Networks.
A router is that piece of network hardware that transfers data packets between networks. In simple terms, it transfers data from the internet via cable to your device.
In a simple network connection, the Internet cable connects to your router, allowing it to send and receive information from the Internet. Other devices on your office network connect to the router through an intermediate Ethernet switch and therefore have access to the Internet.
We won’t go into the technical details of how a router works. That is not the intention of this blog. Instead, let’s focus on what you need to consider before choosing a router for your office network.
Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) usually give you a free router when you buy a subscription. However, these routers are not the best for your use. You will definitely need to buy one and here is what you should consider before choosing a router:
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Counting the number of devices connected to the network is not always simple. Desktops, laptops, and mobile devices aren’t the only devices on your network. Here’s what you need to factor in:
If the total number of devices connected to your network is 20 or more, you should invest in commercial or business Wi-Fi equipment, as home or consumer routers can only handle a limited number of devices. You can also configure some of your devices to unlock the speed of wireless devices. Even so, investing in a commercial router will greatly simplify your network.
If your office is located in a densely populated area, such as downtown San Francisco, your Wi-Fi may be interfered with by your neighbor’s Wi-Fi. That’s right, it happens all the time. You can use a dual router to mitigate the interference.
You can use the 2.4GHz band for IoT devices while reserving the 5GHz band for mobile devices like laptops. This helps keep the 5GHz band free of congestion. Also, because the 5GHz band has a shorter range, it allows you to use additional access points without the risk of interference in very busy airspace. Most enterprise Wi-Fi equipment uses both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands simultaneously and automatically directs your devices to the best available option.
Installation Of Small Office Network Setup
If you plan to have guest users on your network, you must create a separate SSID (Service Set Identifier) for guests. This provides significant flexibility and security as you can provide your guests with Internet access without providing access to your internal network. SSIDs can also be assigned different policies, encryption, authentication, etc. to provide an additional level of security. Commercial grade equipment supports multiple SSIDs.
Choosing the right router is essential to building a reliable wireless network. Therefore, you should pay special attention to the above requirements.
A firewall is a security system for your computer network. Monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on security rules you define. In other words, a firewall is a filter between your internal network and the external network, such as the Internet, that protects your business network from unauthorized external access.
Although computers come with a built-in software firewall, your business is not safe with this one weak security network. Network infrastructure devices are typical targets for cyber attackers, and without a dedicated firewall, the network and all connected devices are vulnerable to hackers.
Small Business Security
A dedicated hardware firewall gives your network much-needed extra protection. The hardware firewall comes with advanced features like VPN, remote access and advanced web filtering. It is similar to a router in that it can handle a limited number of users. So make sure you have a firewall with enough capacity for future growth.
A commercial-grade router usually comes with built-in firewall features, so you may not need to purchase a separate firewall. Be sure to check this, as it is critical to the security of your network.
A switch is an important element of the office network. It is a network device that allows other devices on the network to communicate and share information. You will have computers, printers, NAS devices, servers, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), etc. on your network and the switch connects those devices on your network.
In your home, you don’t see a switch because the wireless router you’re using is a combination of a wireless router, an access point, and a switch. We’ll talk about hotspots in the next section. So it can get a little confusing if you compare your home network to your office network. You just need to remember that the function of a switch is different from that of a router that connects different networks. For most companies, the router connects their network to the Internet, while the switch connects different devices on their network.
How To Build A Computer Network For Your Small Business
For small and medium businesses, there are three types of network switches to choose from. These types are based on configuration options and are as follows:
An unmanaged switch is the simplest and most basic type of switch. It’s simple because you can use it right away because it doesn’t need any configuration. Unmanaged switches are less expensive but lack advanced features. They are best for small offices that have simple networks.
A managed switch gives you control over the operation of the switch. You can configure the switch to decide how the network consumes an Internet connection. You can configure the switch using a CLI (command line interface), SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), or a web interface.
For example, a managed switch allows you to configure port bandwidth and create or modify Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs). Managed switches are more expensive and require some technical knowledge to use effectively. Another key advantage is that they can be managed remotely and are therefore very useful for large offices and satellite locations.
Tips For Creating A Secure Home Office Network Connection
A solid underlying wired network ensures a fast wireless network. Your cables are responsible for providing enough bandwidth to your access points, without which your WiFi network will slow down. Therefore, using recent cable standards such as CAT6 for LAN cabling would be a good investment. This also allows you to connect certain devices such as printers, IP cameras, etc. to the wired network, thereby freeing up spectrum for wireless-dependent devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. Also, plan to run two cables to each wireless access point, as current and future standards will require additional cable bandwidth.
This is the first part of our small business web setup blog. So far, we have discussed the role and requirements for your business network in relation to the following network devices:
In our next blog, How to build a computer
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