DO YOU NEED A MORE RELIABLE OFFICE NETWORK?
Just what does it take to install an office network? Security, reliability, usability should all compliment each other, and one is no use without the other.
When people think of office networks most of them think Cisco, that needn't be the case, we'll look at some examples that we've used in the past.
Hierarchy & Naming
I've visited far to many Startups and even SME networks where the routers and switches are still being named 'Router1', 'Router2', 'Switch1', 'Switch2' etc? Why not name them 'Receptionist Switch', 'Steves Router', so when you run commands within your interface brief you know exactly where you are looking?
And for IP Addressing, if you work in two buildings and both a 50 stories high, you could easily create an IP address structure for both buildings that would be easy to follow on any size screen. The 10th computer working clockwise when you enter your office on the 49th floor of building 1 could be 10.1.49.10, so the 5 computer on the 32nd floor of building 2 would be 10.2.32.5. Easy Eh!
It's all a matter of careful theoretical planning, and then the easy part of entering the data!
VPN Remote Workers
If your don't what to go Cisco RV110W-E-G5-K9, VPN Security for remote workers (A great piece of kit) for your home office, we've used many a Netgear AC1200 (R220), this has many more features than what you'll find on your typical ISP router dual band 2.4 and 5ghz and guest WIfI being some fo the many features.
Require Gigabit and guest internet? a Cisco RV042G-K9, Gigabit Wan! the cost extra is minimal and with latest technologies there's room for expansion, put this together with a ASA 5505, use this as your switch for up to 5 nodes and you have your secure home network, it really can be as simple as that if your running the same vlan, (see fig 1).
If you have the budget and are limited in home or small office space how about an ISR (Integrated Services Router) Cisco 2900 Series? As the name suggests, built in security firewall tools, Vlan Sub-interfaces, highly recommended.
Mid Sized Enterprises
Cisco 2921 Integrated Services Router (ISR) for your Cisco wants, 3 Gig Ports, use this with a 2960-L Model Switch for your small business network, speed and reliability are first rate, we recommend them highly if your networking your office on a budget but still want quality.
If you require guest wifi connectivity for either your Home Office or Business network but don't want to go the Cisco router we again suggest a Netgear this time in the shape of a Netgear AC1200 (R220) as mentioned above or a Nighhawk, both come with 2.4 and 5ghz ac.
Always try and stay away from '802.11n/ac mixed' if you're using WiFi over 5GHz, unless you're within 10 feet of the router, you'de be better off connecting to 2.4n. If you have older PCs and Laptops, you can get 5ghz .AC USB adapter plugins.
Cisco 2900 series installation for total WAN flexibility and security even within a hybrid cloud environment, AVC (Application Visibility Control) Unified Communications or Video, wired and wireless connectivity, no wonder it's a best seller.
Structured Cabling gives your network a logically organised layout for ease of further installations and ease of management. LAN's are intelligently designed with out-of-site cabling from any central hub, to cover all specific data types and functions.
If you moving into new offices that's fine, but if you've recommissioned an old property, there's always used junction boxes and other infrastructure in there, so site surveys are inevitable.
Dependant upon available bandwidth, fibre optic cabling, allows for individual cable runs to be longer, this allows for total flexibility of layout and can ease installation with minimal use of network devices. Read Even More: How to design or upgrade a local area network. This results in a more efficient and less cluttered working environment, and increases productivity and efficiency.
Structured cabling installations can make it easy to organize bandwidth allocations, making it easier to network architects to allow within the design emerging applications and technologies that require high-speed connections. High bandwidth cushions to guide against future growth storming, ensuring maximum connectivity for all your employees as your business expands over time, and allows divergence into new areas and equipment.
Cloud or Home Server
Let's assume you want to use a server rather than just store files and folders on your user PCs! which can over time be problematic and is not very security friendly! You need to run server applications not just store data, does it offer reliable access for remote workers? Will you require an expandable storage installation later on?
Windows Server Essentials comes with a licence for up to 25 users and 50 PCs, and easy remote access. HP Gen8 MicroServer, 9' square together with an HP PS1810-8G an 8 Port Gigabit Switch. We've used this Setup more than a few times every time leaving very happy home and small businesses customers.
The Cloud offers further options for the small business owner, there are still concerns over security, and reliability over ISP outages. As a backup system for our remote workers we use Dropbox, whether we will ever migrate to it solely remains to be seen, but it has proved ultimately reliable thus far, and is cross platform friendly as any we've seen.
Major Firewall Tip
Should we enable desktop firewalls when we have a firewall on our network'? Yes! employees will bring into the office a range of plugable devices from the outside, USB sticks, Phones, and they will plug them into their desktops to upload pictures and iTunes libraries to your server, an excellent gateway for viruses and Trojans.