How to Setup a Small Business Network

A small business network is comprised of multiple devices that need the internet to be enabled. This network is at the core of your small business, allowing you to communicate with your employees and your customers, so it’s imperative to get it properly set up.

Each small business computer network is unique and has many variables depending on the type of company. It is important to understand your small business needs and the requirements of related hardware, including servers, wireless routers and connections, and cable connections such as an Ethernet network setup.

What are Your Needs for a Small Business Network Set Up?

Before setting up your small business network, consider your needs by asking yourself some questions.

  • How many computers, printers and other devices will connect to your network at one time?
  • What applications will employees run?
  • What type of camera’s/recorders will need access to your network?
  • What type of files will be shared and stored?
  • How much wireless coverage will you need?
  • What type of mobile devices will need access to your network?
  • Will you be using Wi-Fi, cameras and Ethernet services?

What Type of Hardware is Needed?

Most small businesses today implement both wireless and wired networks. For example, they might have wireless computers and laptops as well as wired connections for printers and storage devices through an Ethernet cable. For employees who sit at a desk all day, connected to a computer and monitor, a wired network will be fine. Though it’s usually faster, more reliable, and easier to secure, it isn’t built with laptops and mobile devices in mind.

For either type of network, you will need a server, which can reside on the premises or in the cloud or Colocation, and provide many services such as security, disaster recovery, authentication and storage. Both wireless and wired connections allow information to be transmitted between computers and other hardware like printers, cameras though there are considerations for both a wireless network and an Ethernet network.

Wireless Network Setup:

  • For Wi-Fi networks, you will need a router, which is often provided by your internet service provider and used to connect your office to the extranet or purchased on your own. Note: Change your passwords.
  • Make sure the Wi-Fi signal is in an ideal location and change the Wi-Fi service set identifier (SSID) to something related to your small business name. Also, change your SSID password on a quarterly basis.
  • Make sure to have separate networks for employees and customers for security purposes.

Small Business Ethernet Network Setup:

There are three types of business Ethernet services. Your small business needs and location(s) will determine which business Ethernet networking setup will work best for your organization.

  • Local area networks (LAN): the most common Ethernet service that covers one single office or building. (Limited geographical area.)
  • Wide area networks (WAN): ideal for connecting multiple locations, can be connected by high-speed fiber, coaxial, satellite, or leased phone lines. (Large geographical area such as a state, country, and or continent.)
  • Metro area networks (MAN): designed to target a specific metropolitan area, used to connect two or more LANs in a common geographic area. (City or a group of buildings.) May span in a range of 5 to 50 kms.

Is it Necessary to Have a Firewall?

A firewall is a part of a computer system or network that is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting outward communication. (As a traffic cop)

  • Using a firewall is a concern for small businesses. As hackers are not only targeting larger customers but, to include small businesses too.
  • Most small business routers include a firewall functionality, so if you have a router, please check your model and to make sure your OS software is updated.
  • The built-in firewall is sufficient for most small businesses (depending on settings), it’s important to keep up to date of your software (OS) and other security subscriptions. It’s best to talk with a technology professional about securing your network.

For More Information

If you have questions about small business network setup, Cable ONE Business is here to help. Contact us to select an affordable, reliable small business computer network solution that will keep your business connected and secure.

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