Your computer business network serves as the backbone of your business. Your devices, software, applications, and work are built on and supported on your computer network. Therefore, you should prioritize the planning, design, and buying of business hardware to ensure your data security and smooth operation.
Building a useful computer network will be determined by several factors. There’s a difference in creating a home-based network and a business computer network because a business network is complex and has a higher security risk. Here are the key factors you need to consider when building your business network.
Factors to Consider When Building Your Network
For your business computer network to be effective, it needs to meet all your business needs. Therefore, designing your ideal system requires a thorough consideration of various factors to ensure it performs well on high volume, while still maintaining secure connections.
The cost of equipment and maintenance should be the first key factor when designing your business computer network. Luckily, the cost of routers and switches is relatively low nowadays compared to the early days of networking. Other items you need to consider are labor and cabling. For a small to medium office, the costs of cabling and labor may be negligible. In manufacturing firms or warehouses, operations may require a substantial investment of time and cabling to building an effective network in order to run operations smoothly and effectively.
Connectivity and Security
Network connectivity today means more than wireless access point connections or Ethernet cables. People today use their mobile, and they want to access their emails and company data even when they are far from the office. While maintaining security, balancing these needs may be a challenge that needs to be addressed in your business network’s design phase.
The security challenges include storing your data. It could be in-house or by cloud-based solutions. Which information will be accessible, and who can access it? Lastly, which devices will be added to the computer network? Access servers and firewalls also need to be secure to avoid slowing down business operations.
Redundancy and Backups
Redundancy means having in place backup systems for any mission-critical components in your business network. It’s recommended that for a business computer network, you should have two servers. The two identical servers may be configured as a safe option when one fails to work or requires maintenance. It’s a prudent idea to have backup plans for any part of your network that can’t afford to be out for more than an hour.
If your business hosts its web servers or can’t function without Internet connectivity, a second connection should be put in place. Having an extra wireless router, switch, and another spare laptop onsite ensures that downtime is kept at a minimum.
Standardizing Your Software and Hardware
Standardizing your software and hardware in your business computer network is crucial because it ensures all your operations run smoothly. It will also help reduce costs in updates, maintenance, and repairs. It’s best if you run a full audit of all your systems and software to determine which ones need to be standardized.
The director of the company may be given special consideration during standardization. However, for the rest of your staff, especially if they are using the same software as notebooks with the same email programs and word processing, then a hardware or software patch across all the networks can be conducted inexpensively, than if each employee used a different computer model installed with various software on each.
Disaster Recovery Plan
It would help if you implemented a disaster recovery plan when designing your business computer network. This often consists of but isn’t limited to steps taken if your computer network or server crashes, and provides backup power. The recovery plan should also include where your data is backed up, when it’s backed up, and where copies of the backup data are stored. Your disaster recovery plan should also consist of office disasters and building disasters.
The Growth of Your Business
The growth of your business is inevitable, and future plans should be incorporated in the design phase of your business computer network. For example, Microsoft’s small business server is limited to only 75 users. If your company plans to grow and add more employees in the future, this could prove to be a wasted investment. Your network design should give room for at least 20 percent growth per year, including everything from backup systems to switch ports.
The Basics of Building Your Business Computer Network
When building your business company network, you need to determine your business’ current and future needs. If you have a solid understanding of your business needs and consider the key factors, then building your network will be much easier. Also, knowing the basic knowledge of the different types of hardware used for network design will help you budget for all the equipment needed.
Here’s a typical list of hardware components needed to set up your business computer network.
A router is a hardware component that connects a local network to the Internet. Other devices in the office connect to your router using an Ethernet switch in between gaining access to the Internet. A router is the first line of intrusion from outside access. You can, however, enable security on the router by turning on a firewall, which is the best way to keep your computer systems and data safe from attack.
Most routers are connected to other network devices by use of network cables and don’t need drivers to operate in operating systems or windows. However, routers that connect to computers via USB or Firewire will require drivers to work. Routers often act as the DHCP in computer networks issuing unique IP addresses.
How to Choose the Best Router for Your Business?
Most Internet providers will provide you with a free router when you subscribe to their services. However, you need to purchase your router for an effective business computer network. Here are some factors to consider when buying your router.
- The number of devices available on your network. If the total number of devices connected to your computer network is more than 20, then it’s best if you invested in commercial WiFi or a business-grade router, because the standard router can only handle some devices.
- Interference from neighboring WiFi. If your business is located in a densely populated area, it’s most likely that you may have interference from other WiFi users in the neighborhood. In this case, you can use a dual-band router to mitigate the interference.
- Guest WiFi requirement. If you plan to have guests accessing your WiFi, then you should create a separate SSID (Service set identifier) for guests on your network. This ensures that your company’s system is safe from outsiders and is an added security. Business-grade routers support multiple SSIDs.
A network switch is an essential hardware component for your business network. It’s a device that allows other network devices to connect and share information. Examples of these devices are printers, PCs, servers, network devices, VOIP, etc. A switch differs from a router in that a router connects your network to the Internet. In contrast, the switch connects different devices within your business network.
How to Pick the Best Switch for Your Business Computer Network?
For different companies, there are three types of switches to choose from. They vary due to their features and configurations.
- Unmanaged switch. An unmanaged switch is the most straightforward kind of switch because you can use it straight from the box, and it doesn’t need any configuration. They are less expensive but lack any advanced features. They are best to use in small offices with smaller networks.
- Managed switch. A managed switch comes with the option of controlling the switch. You can configure it to control how your network consumes the Internet by setting up port bandwidth and modifying your Virtual Area Local Network (VLAN). They are a bit costly and can be managed remotely. They are ideal to be used in large businesses and satellite locations.
- Smart switch. This is also known as a 2 or 3-layer switch and is an in-between of an unmanaged and managed switch. It’s smarter than an unmanaged switch because it offers you control over layer 2 of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnections) model.
Performance is a significant determinant of the type of switch you choose. The faster a switch can transfer data, the more expensive it will be. If your operations require that you need a high-performance switch that can transfer large files across networks, consider purchasing https://2jdata.com/product/ms220-8p/.
This ultimate guide is an excellent place to start when planning to configure your business computer network. Please note the tips, and make sure to use professionals to install all your equipment and computer network to ensure that it runs smoothly and effectively.