December 10, 2013

Small office computing differs from enterprise networks, in having modest computing and networking requirements. A typical small office network consists of about a dozen computers and a few printers or scanners. The key requirement of such a network is that it should allow the users to share information and peripherals. A small office network usually requires a single LAN with one or two servers, which can be managed by a single person with technical expertise.

Enlisted below are some basic tips for networking for a small office:

  • The most important step to establish a small office network is to ensure as strong foundation for the network. This includes investing in business-grade switches and routers for the network.
  • You will also need to ensure scalability for the network. This will make it possible to easily add or remove computers from the network, as per the changing needs of your company, as well as additional features and functionality as required.
  • It is a good idea to have built-in redundancy for your network, to ensure a good backup system for your network.
  • Opting for wireless access could enable a great deal of freedom for your small office network, through the use of devices like Wireless Laptops, P.D.A’s, printers, and cameras. It could also be useful in the event of having to set up a temporary office, where network access was not originally planned. The decreased use of cables also makes the office environment safer. However, wired networks offer the advantages of being more reliable, having a lower cost and offering faster connection speeds.
  • Some essential features that you should opt for include Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video surveillance, integrated messaging, and wireless applications.
  • It is advisable to use switches with inlet power, which will make them easier to install, use, and manage. While choosing features for your network, you should take into account their reliability and redundancy.
  • You can ensure prime security for your small office network by keeping the server room under lock and key, and ensuring that the VPN is administered internally. All the equipment and network gear should be password protected.
  • It is also advisable to use VLANs, which are LANs connected with a router. Public websites can be on a separate LAN secured by a firewall, and the servers can be on an individual LAN.