An office network is a name used to refer to the equipment, software, and applications that you use to ensure seamless internet connectivity between workers and devices. It also includes the planning, design, and hardware that you use to make this possible.
Why is an office network important for my business?
An office network is crucial to any business whether you have remote or in-office workers. This is because having an office network reduces the amount of time it takes for staff to move information or data from one sector to another. It helps to boost output while saving costs and making a more ideal work environment. The idea is to make it as simple as possible while maintaining high levels of efficiency.
Which equipment do I need to build an office network?
To build an office network there are some essential devices and these are:
- Access Points
- Coaxial Cables
- Extenders, Repeaters & Bridges
- Firewalls / Security Appliances
- Network Adapters
- UTP Cables & Patch Cords
How do I set up an office network?
Before setting up your office network you need to consider what kind of an office you have, your budget as well as the potential to grow that you will create with your network. Also, consider the main purpose you want your network to serve. Keep in mind that an office network is very different from a home network. A home network can be as basic as having a WiFi router and ethernet cables since you are only serving a small number of devices that are not running heavy and repetitive tasks. An office network on the other hand requires a large number of devices and also has a higher bandwidth.
What network is used in offices and small businesses?
There are different properties that determine the type of computer network that you have. These are capacity, authorization, structure, technology, and organization purpose. Considering all of these would lead to a very broad classification, which is why in most cases, there are only two factors considered physical and geographical extent. With this, you get the following types of computer networks:
- Local Area Network
- Wide Area Network
- Storage Area Network
- Wireless Local Area Network
- Metropolitan Area Network
This is the most common type as it connects devices within a limited geographical area. This can either be a building or a house. With this type of network, there is often no limit to the number of devices that can be connected.
This is also referred to as an extensive computer network as it connects a group of computers or devices over large distances. Often it is used by businesses to connect office networks in different locations with each location having its dedicated LAN networks. The internet can be considered the largest and most common WAN. The necessary devices in a WAN include access servers, switches, modem routers, ISDN terminal adapters, multiplexers, and ATM switches.
This is a dedicated network used to interconnect and present shared storage devices to multiple servers. It is a high-speed network that is specialized to offer block-level network access to storage that is locally attached. It is made up of hosts and switches interconnected with different topologies, protocols, and technologies. The essence of SAN’s is to ensure you have all your data backup with reliable security and essentially have a business continuity strategy at all times.
Also known as WLAN. this is a LAN connection enhanced by wireless communication. It uses high-frequency radio waves and has access points that allow users to access data while moving around. Most people will refer to WLAN as WiFi but there is a diffrence. WLAN is the wireless network itself while WiFi s the wireless connection that a device uses.
This is a large computer network that spans a vast geographical area used mostly in universities and companies.
The components of a network?
When it comes to creating your own office network whether for a home or work area there are a lot of device that are used. However there are basic components that are necessary and crucial to ensure that everything runs as they are supposed to. Below we look into these devices:
A server is a computer or a group of computers that hold shared files, operating systems, and programs that your office needs in its daily tasks. Essentially they provide access to resources for your staff. This enhances collaboration and file sharing across multiple users through centralized files. It allows your staff to work from anywhere as long as they are connected to the central server where all files are backed up. At the same time, they help mitigate the loss of work when devices, also known as clients, are lost or damaged.
A router is a device that enables the transfer of data from one client to another. They do this by reading the data, transferring it in packets, and determining the intended destination. Routers allow users to access the internet; without one, your network would be considered a local one. Most of them require you to install firewalls for protection against malicious attacks such as viruses or hackers who may sabotage your business.
A switch is a networking device that hardwires other devices to a single network. They allow connection between one to one computer, one to many computers, and one to all computers. This creates three types of connections termed unicast, multicast, and broadcast respectively. Depending on your office setup you have three available formats to choose from they are;
- Unmanaged switches; where you buy one and connect all your devices
- Managed switches; used mostly for technology-based businesses and
- LAN and POE switches; A LAN switch creates a local area network to allow your devices to stay connected while Power Over Ethernet switches allow you to connect devices and run power on the same cable.
- Access Points.
An access point is used to create a network within your business and it connects itself to one of the network components such as a switch or router. You may use an access point to provide a Wi-Fi signal in one area of your business where you don’t have a router in range. Access points are necessary as performance dips the further a device is from routers this is why they are installed at intervals to provide a steady and stable user experience across all connected devices.
Cables, while easy to acquire and use, come with different capabilities. Depending on the type of network and business you have you can choose either an ethernet cable or a fiber optic cable. Ethernet cables are used when you are connecting devices that are close by and within the same area. On the other hand, fiber optic cables allow for connections over long distances such as that of an internet service provider to the client.