A Step by Step Approach to Building a Network for your Business
So you’ve decided to take the jump and set up your own network for your business. This is an essential step in forming or improving any business, since so much work is now done away fr om the office. There are a lot of potential pitfalls that you need to be aware of, but these can be bypassed with some careful planning. Presented below are some simple decision you should make to ensure that you establish the most effective business network possible.
Wired or Wireless?
Whether you choose a wired network wh ere the computers are connected directly to a router via Ethernet cable or a wireless network that uses Wi-Fi connectivity is largely a question of how your office area is set up. For traditional offices that have desktop computers and plenty of space to run cables, having a wired option is probably a good idea. This allows you to have the best speed and reliability possible. If you have employees using laptops or notebooks to connect to the network, however, a wireless choice will allow them the chance to move freely without being anchored to any one point. A combination can also be used, using wired setups for desktops and wireless for traveling employees.
Peer-to-Peer or Client-Server?
The size of your business will determine whether a peer-to-peer or a client-server network is desirable. A peer-to-peer network has each computer serve as both client and server, which means that each computer will communicate directly with other computers on the network. This setup requires little in the way of equipment and is great for homes or home offices, but larger businesses might see a drop in efficiency. A client-server setup, on the other hand, connects multiple computers to one central server, which then communicates with the outside world via a server. This requires you to have a server that you can keep on-site. It also requires some extra configuration, but speed up large tasks.
Equipment and Logistics
It’s easy to write down your plans on paper, but sometimes it’s harder to make those plans work in practice. You should be sure that you have all the equipment that you need to make your business network fully functional. Desktop computers should be connected via cables to the router, and those cables should be long enough that they can be run through outlets and along walls to make sure they won’t get tripped over or disconnected. Wireless networks will need routers placed strategically throughout the area to make sure the signal is strong at all times. Peer-to-peer networks need only a modem and the proper cables, but a client-server setup needs a server that can handle a heavy load.
Choosing your Settings
Most servers come with a simple step-by-step guide that allows you to set them up easily. However, there are still choices you will have to make while configuring your network. One of these choices will be naming protocols for each computer. If you are using a client-server network, you will need to identify each computer on the network, even if this identification is as easy as, “Bob-Desktop-1.” It helps to have a uniform naming system, but you can use any system that fits your business needs and style. You will also need to determine whether you want to use IP masking, which hides the individual IP addresses of computers on your network and uses one central IP address for security purposes.
Setting your Security
One of the most important steps in making sure your network stays functional is to look at your network security settings. To start with, you should log into your router settings by entering 192.168.1.1 into your Internet browser. If you are using a wireless network, make sure that you have either WPA or WPA2 encryption enabled. You will also need to set a strong password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Following the beefing up of your browser security settings, you should look at your firewall software and make sure that you are as protected as possible while also allowing channels for employees to access the network remotely.
Creating a business network involves a good deal of planning and an attention to detail in the execution. You should make sure to take all of the above tips into consideration and set your network’s size and functionality to meet the needs of your business. You also need to make sure to set the best security protocols you possibly can. Ideally, the only people who should have access to your network are you and your employees.