Networking “IT” Tips for Small Businesses

Friday, October 4, 2019 Posted by: comments: closed

Network Support for Small Business

Check out the tips below for ways to upgrade your network and storage, and take your productivity to the next level.

Welcome the world of wireless

Though its speed and reliability make Ethernet a must-have for optimal PC performance, Wi-Fi has its place, too.  Without it, you’d never enjoy the work-anywhere flexibility of your laptop or mobile devices.

Instead of choosing a run-of-the-mill router, go for something with a little more mph.  A simultaneous dual-band router offers twice the bandwidth–2.4GHz and 5GHz–essentially giving you two independent networks.  Connect frequently used devices such as your smartphone or tablet to the 2.4GHz band, and reserve the less crowded 5GHz band for high-quality voice and video streaming.

In addition, if your router offers either a guest mode or a second SSID, you can provide a wireless network for people who are visiting you.  Setting a simple, memorable password can save you from having to repeat your 20-character passphrase for the umpteenth time.

Streamline your network

A cutting-edge router isn’t worth much if the Ethernet switch that links all your networked devices isn’t equal to the job.  Make sure the switching capacity offers adequate bandwidth.  As a general guide, an eight-port gigabit Ethernet switch should have 16 gigabits per second of switching capacity (8 ports x 1 gbps x 2 bands) for full duplex.  Anything less than 18gbps would render the switch incapable of operating at full capacity on all ports simultaneously.

On a good router switch, you should be able to find the switching capacity listed in the device’s specifications.  However, many lower-end switches omit this information, which is why picking up a cheap one from the discount section is a bad idea.  Similarly, chaining multiple small network switches to work in tandem is a recipe for hard-to-diagnose problems and performance bottlenecks.  Instead, look for a single switch that has enough network ports to meet your needs.

2X down on the ISP

Your Internet connection is crucial for communicating with clients and customers and for accessing your company’s website.  Unfortunately, if your ISP goes down–for any reason–so does your business.  To reduce the risk of suffering downtime, sign up with two different Internet providers.  For example:  Comcast and Verizon FiOS using a load-balancing device.

Dual Internet access doesn’t have to be costly or complicated.  One strategy is to sign up for a lower-tier plan, and apply the resulting savings to a second provider.  If the technological challenge of managing multiple Internet connections seems daunting, consider investing in an easy-to-use multi-WAN router.

Create your own cloud

Cloud storage is a great way to access frequently used spreadsheets and presentations, but it’s not optimal for storing large video files or data backups.  Trying to rebuild a PC or server from backups stored in the cloud can be a trying experience, to say the least.  The most important factor is the cost to store massive image files in a cloud solution.

Network-attached storage (NAS) offers a more flexible approach.  The perfect small-business replacement for the cumbersome file servers of yesteryear, a typical NAS–such as Synology’s DS413j–can accommodate two to eight hard drives.  For even speedier file access, get a NAS equipped with dual-gigabit Ethernet ports and link aggregation support.

Set It and Forget It (Automate)

When you’re out of town, you don’t want to worry about what’s going on back at your office.  Introducing a little automation–such as installing a switch to power off your multiple-monitor rig automatically at the end of the workday or adding a smart device to prevent your server from overheating–can go a long way toward easing your mind.

For the former, you can combine three components from Ubiquiti: an mPower power strip and an mPort controller with a Wall Mount Motion Sensor.  For the latter, grab Ubiquiti’s Temperature Sensor.

You can upgrade your system with everything under the sun, but it won’t get you far without a strong, capable network.  Build out your office with good storage and fast, versatile networking equipment, and you’ll be well equipped for the everyday and the unexpected.

Written by

Over 25 years experience in computer services for homes and businesses; consulting in private and government sectors. Gardner Precision Technologies located in West Long Branch, New Jersey. From home users to large corporations with data centers, in every line of business. Regardless of how complicated your computer needs, we guarantee the fastest and most cost effective computer services solution available.

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