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Guide to Setting Up a Small Office Network It is important to consider both simplicity and functionality when designing a small office network. Your setup should meet the needs of your growing company. Remember, it is possible for the hardware that seems suitable for your business now to be unable to cater for your needs 3 years to come. Apart from this, it’s important to ensure your business will not outgrow the hardware before it reaches its obsoleteness or else that would be a waste of resources. You should research well prior to setting up a small office network. Knowing the functionality and capability of the different networking hardware available is the first step to follow. Understanding the functions of the networking hardware will make it easy for you to know which ones to purchase. Overview of Switches and Routers For a small office network to function, it needs to have switches and routers. It is important to know the difference between these equipment to ensure you choose the right ones.
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In a nutshell, switches make it possible for office devices to communicate with each other. Network attached storage (NAS), printers, desktop PCs, CCTV cameras and VoIP are some of the devices that can communicate through each other through the switch. However, the devices have to be networked before they can communicate with each other. For the devices to be in the same network, they will need to be connected to the switch.
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Coming to routers, their work is to tie together different networks. For small businesses, this usually means tying the office network to the internet. The router determines how information flows from the internet to the devices in your network. The router also keeps your devices safe from cyber threats. Choosing the Right Switch There are two types of switches you can choose from when setting up a small business network. You can go for either a managed or an unmanaged type of switch. The switches used for most business networks are the unmanaged types. The switches only have a few basic features and their configurations is easy. It is easy to install and operate these switches. Setting up and managing the switches does not require a lot of technical prowess. On the other hand, managed switches offer more control on how to configure the way internet is accessed by the devices in your network. Managed switches have various advanced settings that can be monitored and configured. Most of the newer switches in the market have a graphical user interface (GUI) for this purpose. Configuring the switches either on-premise or remotely is also possible. You can determine the scalability of both managed and unmanaged switches based on the number of Ethernet ports they have. You generally need some technical prowess to take full advantage of the features of a managed switch.