Setting up an office network can be extremely tricky. It’s a much more involved process than simply setting up a wi-fi modem or router at home to get online. The network needs to be able to sustain multiple computers, people, files and tasks concurrently so it can be easy to forget the simple stuff when getting started.
5. Your Business
The system, storage and network requirements for a sales business are rather different than the needs of a business doing video production or design work. One deals with small documents or images and spends most of its time running web browsers or Office software suites. The other requires hefty editing software and the frequent transfer of large files between terminals for editing. The network that works for the sales business won’t meet the requirements of the video production team. If you aren’t sure, there are plenty of companies like Keyspace
that can advise you on, and even facilitate the setup of, office networks to spec for you.
4. Network Design
Think about your overall vision for the network design. Will you require account access for members of the public? Will you have several departments that need to be segmented? Good network design takes factors like these into account. Doing so reduces the risk of network problems like data bottlenecks and slow down in the future.
This ties back into the first point. If network storage is important then you’ll need to assess the kind of space you’re going to need. It will need to be enough to comfortably store every file you have now and have space for a lot more in the future. Will you have one main drive for employees to access files from or will you partition (or sub-divide) drives for specific employees or divisions?
2. Running Cable
All of your planning will be for naught if you head down to the body corporate office only to be told that you aren’t allowed to get up in the roof and run the ethernet cable you need. Many companies feel that wifi is the way forward, however sometimes Wi-Fi isn’t capable of the sort of transfer speeds you can get out of a wired connection. Get a few people transferring files on a wifi network and watch it slow to a crawl. It’s so important that you ensure you have clearance to run cable through the office ceiling and walls.
1. Budget Development
Depending on the size the network you’re setting up, it’s a good idea to know how much you want to spend before committing to anything. You don’t want to get halfway through and run out of money, nor do you want to cheap out and get a system that can’t do what you need it to do. To save money, consider going with a web host that takes an accurate measurement of the bandwidth that you use, rather than estimating based on your usage during peak times. That way, you don’t have to worry as much about going over your allotted bandwidth for the month. By only paying for the bandwidth that you actually use, you can avoid the additional costs that go along with frequent bandwidth overages.
The installation of a functional, future-proofed office network is largely based around a common sense approach to the task at hand. Plan for what you’re going to need now and in the future. Have a budget in mind and aim to be under it. Don’t be afraid to get a professional in if you don’t know what you’re doing. Your employees will thank you for doing it right.
Have you ever had a network set up in your office before? What did you learn from the experience? Tell all in the comments below!