Does your office or facility suffer from network issues? You are not alone. Unless your company hired a professional to carefully create a network strategy, intermittent problems will almost certainly occur.
Networking requires a certain level of specialized knowledge, as well as the right hardware. Many customers who come to us are relying at the time on low-grade or residential-grade equipment. As inexpensive and convenient as those devices are, they simply can’t keep up with more than a few people in one office. Device factory settings provide insufficient coverage, not to mention security risks.
Today, computing needs network connectivity to be effective. No PC operates in isolation. At minimum, a computer connects to a local intranet and on-premise servers, but more than likely it needs a reliable, high-speed Internet connection to cloud services.
In other words, your network matters a lot to how efficiently your business operates. Building a robust network takes a bit of thought, but once we strategically deploy the correct gear based on a company’s needs, employees experience almost no further problems and can stay productive.
Here are five questions to get you started thinking about what kind of network strategy your operations need:
1. What kind of network downtime is acceptable?
We ask this question, although the answer is almost always the same: very little to never, thank you. Everyone simply expects nearly ubiquitous network connectivity these days, but it’s important to have a very clear picture of the risks to your business should the network fail. Dual Wide Area Network (WAN) connections provide sufficient redundancy and robustness.
2. How many individual connections do you need to the network?
This determines Switching requirements and the number of ports for your network. Typically we deploy equipment that can scale should you hire more employees.
3. What applications do you run?
Do employees live stream from their desktops, possibly to connect with suppliers or customers, to conduct or receive training? You should also consider large downloads, such as engineering specifications, databases, graphic-heavy documents or videos.
4. Do you use or have plans to deploy IP phones, networked security cameras or wireless access points?
Some devices offer Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability, which delivers power on the same ethernet cable as network connectivity. Although it makes network planning a little simpler, you will have to factor in a PoE switch or injectors into your network strategy.
5. How many people require WiFi within a given area of your facility?
This determines the number of wireless access points (WAP) and how to optimize their settings. Typically we get a floor plan to assess where to place WAPs and how to eliminate any channel interference.
Eliminate Network Headaches
We don’t call the network your IT backbone for nothing: without it, very little in your company functions as it needs to. Employees—as well as the applications they use in their jobs—increasingly presume a high-level of network connectivity, so when it slows, work stops. Without a well thought out network strategy in place, even experienced IT professionals find it difficult to pinpoint the source of intermittent issues. Putting together a solid plan ensures your business can keep working at top speed.