When designing a small office network, consider both simplicity and functionality. Consider the growing needs of your business when setting up the network. Remember, the networking hardware you may see fit today may not be suitable for your business 3 years down the road. Apart from this, it’s important to ensure your business will not outgrow the hardware before it reaches its obsoleteness or else that would be a waste of resources.
It is crucial to do your research to determine the best way to go about setting your office network. To begin, you should know the functionality and capability of various networking hardware that will be required for the setup. Understanding the functions of the networking hardware will make it easy for you to know which ones to purchase.
Overview of Switches and Routers
To set up a small office network, you need routers and switches. Knowing the difference between these devices will help you determine which one to choose.
The work of switches is to enable different devices in your network to communicate with each other. Some of the devices we are referring to include CCTV cameras, desktop PCs, printers, storage devices and so on. Keep in mind that these devices first need to be networked. For the devices to be in the same network, they will need to be connected to the switch.
Coming to routers, their work is to tie together different networks. Your office network is tied to the internet through the router. The way information flows from the internet to different devices in your network is determined by the router. Apart from this, it protects the devices from cyber threats.
What to Consider When Choosing a Switch
To set up a small business network, you will need two types of switches. You can go for either a managed or an unmanaged type of switch.
The switches used for most business networks are the unmanaged types. The switches have an easy configuration and only have basic features. These switches are easy to install and operate. You do not have to be very technical savvy to operate or manage these switches.
For managed switches, you can configure various advanced settings such as the devices to access the internet, what time the internet should be accessed, amount of bandwidth each device should use, and so on. The main difference between a managed and an unmanaged switch is that for the former, you can monitor and configure advanced settings. The configuration of most modern switches is done through a graphic user interface (GUI). The switches can also be adjusted on premise or remotely. Check that the ports of the switch you want to buy will be sufficient for the number of devices in your network. You will need to be a little technology savvy to use the advanced settings of a managed switch.
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