One of the best ways to utilize your company’s resources is by setting up a small business network. A proper setup will allow you to make the most of your business’ data transfer and storage, as well as make sure that all aspects of data management and communication go smoothly.
An effective, efficient network blueprint can make your business run better. Once your network is properly set up, you will be able to access the internet from any computer terminal. The ability to share files and devices with no hassle over the network between computers means that your time will also be used much more wisely.
Network Choices – Wired or Wireless?
The very first and perhaps most important decision you’ll make about your small business network is whether you’re going to use a wired or wireless network. Each one has advantages that the other doesn’t, but the setup that works best ultimately depends on your business.
Wired networks, also called “Ethernet” for shorthand, are reliable and secure. Not only that, they’re easy to install and economical. There’s no worry about someone tapping into your network externally. That being said, wired networks are geared more towards setups with desktops.
Wireless networks are just that – they lack any wires. Setup is fairly easy, but there can be security issues in an unsecured or improperly secured network. This type of setup is geared towards laptops.
These types of network setups aren’t mutually exclusive, however. If you’re confused, you may want to talk to IT consulting professionals to help you figure it out.
A peer-to-peer network allows each terminal to act as both a client and server. This makes changes to the network infrastructure much easier.
A router (possibly one that hast he ability to use wireless networking) and any necessary cables to connect computers to the router are needed.
Required Individual Settings:
Setting up a network just using one type of operating system network-wide should be easy. Windows XP, Vista and 7 all come with the ability to add a computer to the same Workgroup or Homegroup. You just need to make sure that printer and file sharing are enabled. All of this can be done through the built-in Network Setup Wizard.
In this type of network setup, client computers each connect to a central server. Data and applications are installed only on the server and then clients are allowed to access both by connecting to it. Larger businesses or offices are typically what require this type of setup the most.
A server is an absolute requirement. You will be best off using an operating system that’s server-friendly, such as Microsoft Windows Server Edition or a Linux distribution.
While a single PC may be suitable for smaller businesses, larger businesses will typically require a stand-alone piece of hardware that is nothing but a dedicated server. This is typically a wise investment if you can foresee your business’ network needing to expand in the future.
The hardest part about setting up a client-server network is quite possibly connecting all the cables and connections. Once that’s done, setup on the server is fairly straightforward. From it, privileges, restrictions and more can be set for any and all clients on your network.
Making Sure Your New Network is Secure
A small business network’s data should be secure, that’s why it’s important to think about network security.
If you’re using a wireless network, log onto your network’s router by navigating to its IP in your browser. The default IP for most routers is 192.168.1.1. Look for a security tab or wireless network configuration tab and make sure that some sort of security is enabled. The order of strongest security modes for wireless routers from best to worst is: WPA2, WPA and WEP. Select the best supported encryption and set up a password to use for wireless clients in your network.
Passwords, restrictions and proper client security by installing firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus programs on computers will go a very long way to making sure that your data is secure as well.
The bottom line about setting up a small business network is that you must deduce what your network has to have in order to properly serve your needs. From there, it’s a matter of making sure that each computer is connected by cable or by wireless, then making sure that all of the settings are set up to be compatible.
If you have any tips about small business networks, feel free to add them below.