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How to Set Up a Small Business Office Network

A small business network consists of several devices that necessitate active internet connectivity. This network forms the heart of your…

How to Set Up a Small Business Office Network

15th December 2023

A small business network consists of several devices that necessitate active internet connectivity. This network forms the heart of your small enterprise, enabling interactions with your staff and clients, hence it’s critical to ensure its correct installation.

Every computer network in a small business is distinct, with numerous factors contingent on the business type. Recognizing your small business needs and the specifications of the relevant hardware, which includes servers, wireless routers and connections, as well as wired links like an Ethernet network configuration, is crucial.

Web and Telecommunication Services

Ensure that you have adequate access to phone and internet services. It would be problematic if you reach your office only to discover that the phone service is inadequate. Double-check your location with your internet and phone service providers. If the address isn’t finalized yet, inspect the services at surrounding addresses around the potential site. Once you’re assured of coverage, perform a speed test to evaluate the service quality.

Select a Network Switch

A switch enables the interconnection of all your computers within a singular network. The three fundamental choices are: managed switches, unmanaged switches, and smart switches. Managed switches significantly control your network, while unmanaged switches operate on a plug-and-play basis with limited or no configurability.

Smart switches sit in between these two, offering some degree of control whilst also facilitating easy management. Performance is another factor to consider. Lower-priced switches may not offer high speed, so this should be considered if your work involves large file transfers or tasks that consume substantial bandwidth.

Small Business Router

A small business router is a portal linking your internal network to the internet. It offers protective measures such as firewalls, VPN assistance, and NAT (Network Address Translation), which collectively shield your network from external dangers.

In choosing a router, you need to consider your type of internet connection (whether it’s DSL, cable, or fiber), the quantity of users, and the necessary features. Some routers directly incorporate wireless capabilities (Wi-Fi), making them a comprehensive solution if your enterprise requires wireless connection.

Firewall

A firewall serves as a security barrier for your computer network, overseeing and managing both inbound and outbound network traffic per your defined security guidelines. A firewall works as a shield, positioned between your internal network and external networks like the internet, to fend off unapproved external access to your business network.

Avoid Immediate Implementation of a VPN

Before establishing a VPN for your employees to access the office network remotely, take a moment to understand which office resources they require. Is it a shared file? A fellow employee’s workstation? Or an in-house business application? Whatever the resource is, question its necessity for on-premise hosting.

By analyzing the underlying reasons for employees “requiring” VPN access to the on-premise network, you can identify dependencies that may not need to be hosted on-site at all. When transitioning some of these dependencies to the cloud, you might realize that very few employees need VPN access to the on-premise network.

Wiring Plan

The design of your new office will determine the arrangement of your wiring. It’s advisable to conceptualize an office network setup diagram. Even though your plans may shift during the renovation and construction process, it’s essential to have a preliminary understanding of your wiring requirements and structure. This knowledge will be useful when requesting bids. Ensure you incorporate two data lines per workstation in your plan. Consider other network-connected necessities such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, printers, Wi-Fi access points, and mobile phones.

Endnote

A well-organized network for your small business is vital for effective functionality. For a thriving network setup, allocating funds towards necessary devices such as a switch and router specifically designed for small businesses is important. Adhere to the advice detailed in this piece for further guidance.

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