Estimates for the web security market suggest that its industry will exceed $5 billion in revenue in 2022. This segment includes solutions for data loss prevention and employee monitoring.
Part of this security solution is a robust network setup that connects various devices to the internet and protects these devices from unauthorized access.
If you’re a small business owner, deciding how to set up your network and what devices to connect can be daunting and time-consuming and this includes how to set up a voip network with a voip cell phone.
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How do you set up a computer network suitable for a small business? What equipment and devices do you need to set up your network?
This guide provides helpful information on the various network setups and devices that make up a computer network. This article also provides tips for choosing routers and switches appropriate for the network.
Basic Computer Network Setup for a Small Business
A basic network setup typically starts with an internet connection from your internet service provider (ISP). An ISP is an organization that provides you with internet access. Without an ISP, your network cannot connect to the internet.
A cable runs from the ISP to a router that connects your devices to the internet.
A firewall, usually placed between the router and the switch, filters the network traffic from the router to keep unauthorized traffic from getting in or out of your network. Some routers have a built-in firewall.
The switch connects the rest of your network devices and provides them with access to the internet.
Some routers can provide wireless access, also called Wi-Fi technology. This feature means your Wi-Fi-capable network devices can connect to the router and access the internet without needing cables.
Alternatively, you can connect a Wi-Fi access point to the switch. This access point provides wireless connectivity to your Wi-Fi-capable devices, especially in areas within your workplace where using cables is impractical.
Once your network is correctly set up and configured, your devices are ready to access the internet.
Equipment Needed to Set Up a Computer Network
In today’s information-driven world, your computer network is a core infrastructure of your business operations. Your devices, software, applications, and most of your work depends on this network.
Thus, planning, designing, setting up hardware and software, and implementing network security should have a high priority for your business.
When setting up a computer network for your organization, remember that building a network optimized for a business environment differs from setting up a home network.
Business network design has numerous challenges with complexity and security. Although most of the essential network components are the same as with other small business networks, how you set up your network will still depend on your needs.
The following are the primary devices you need to set up a computer network for your business:
- Local area network (LAN) cable or patch cable
- Access point
- Patch panel
A modem, short for modulator-demodulator, is a network hardware device that helps connect your computer and other devices to the internet. The modem converts analog data transmitted over the cable to digital data your computer understands.
The growing use of fiber optic connections is gradually turning modems obsolete. Fiber optic cables can transmit higher bandwidth over longer distances than copper wire cables.
If your network requires a high data transfer rate, you will likely use a fiber optic connection in the workplace. In this case, you’ll no longer need a modem since the fiber optic cable can connect directly to your router.
A router is a network component that transfers data packets between networks. In other words, a router transfers data from the internet cable to your network devices.
LAN cables are an essential wired network component that helps connect devices to the network. Even if you’re using Wi-Fi access points, you still need a reliable wired connection from the switch to the access point. This connection helps deliver sufficient bandwidth without slowing down your wireless connection.
Switches are devices that allow networked devices to connect and share information. For instance, connecting a printer to the network allows other users in the same network to print their documents in that printer.
A firewall is an essential computer network security appliance that helps filter and screen incoming cyber attacks against your network.
Repeaters are network devices that help extend the Wi-Fi signal from your router or access point. These devices are helpful in workplaces with areas outside the Wi-Fi router or access point range.
A patch panel is a hardware device connecting other network devices using cables. Patch panels also keep numerous cables organized.
Tips for Choosing a Router
Many ISPs provide a free router when you purchase a subscription from them. However, there are cases where these routers may not be sufficient for your needs.
For example, you might need a router with a built-in firewall. However, the ISP can only provide you with a free router without that security.
Consider the following concerns before choosing a router:
- Number of devices connected to your network
- Firewall requirements
- Visitor or guest Wi-Fi requirements
Tips for Choosing a Switch
Small and medium businesses have three options of network switches to choose from, which are the following:
- Managed switch: A managed switch gives you control over how your network utilizes an internet connection.
An information technology (IT) personnel typically controls a managed switch using a command line interface (CLI). Newer models use a graphical interface instead.
Managed switches are usually more expensive than unmanaged ones and require technical knowledge to be used effectively.
However, one advantage of managed switches is that some large businesses or satellite offices use them to adjust network settings remotely.
This feature means an IT administrator can control the managed switch without being physically present in the workplace.
- Unmanaged switch: This switch can work straight out of the box and offers only basic configuration settings.
Many small business networks likely prefer unmanaged switches since these devices only require minimal technical knowledge to install and operate.
- Smart switch: Some manufacturers build and market smart switches, also called layer 2/3 switches, which provide more control than unmanaged switches and have partial control features of a managed switch.
To build the right computer network, consult a network administrator or expert to know what ISP and setup work best for your business needs.
- Revenue From Corporate Web Security Market From 2016 to 2026 https://www.statista.com/statistics/497957/corporate-web-security-market/
- Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash