Small businesses today rely heavily on internet-capable devices to keep their operations running smoothly.
However, those devices won’t be as effective as they should be if you don’t have a good local area network (LAN) to keep them properly connected.
Deploying a Wi-Fi network is a good alternative to setting up a bulky wired LAN, but you still need to know how to make the most out of it.
Check out some of the best practices for setting up your company’s wireless network.
1. Make Sure You Use the Right Equipment.
Many companies make the mistake of trying to cut costs by relying on wireless routers meant for residential buildings.
Entry-level wireless routers may be cheaper than commercial-class options, but they are not designed to handle too many device connections, a practice which only further limits the amount of devices that can connect at a given time.
Overloaded routers not only run the risk of getting damaged (creating a need for more costly replacements) but also make your company vulnerable to losing important data at the moment your local network fails.
Access points are at the heart of your Wi-Fi network, so you need hardware that is good enough to rely on.
Business-friendly Wi-Fi routers are not just built to accommodate more devices, but also meant to operate non-stop for extended periods of time.
A single Wi-Fi access point meant for business use can easily handle several rows of desktop computers, plus all the mobile devices used by your average small business.
2. Place Your Access Points Strategically.
Although Wi-Fi routers are not limited by how many cable ports they can accommodate, they still have limitations such as signal obstructions and service range.
While it’s not a big problem for businesses with limited floor space where everyone’s within good range, it may not be enough if the office space is either too large or if areas are separated by walls or cabinets.
It’s generally fine to use the range recommended by the manufacturer as basis of the router’s appropriate placement, but you should also look for access point locations where it will have no more than two or three obstructions blocking it from devices during business hours.
3. Secure Your Network Channel.
A small business network should not be slowed down by unnecessary load and bandwidth usage.
If you don’t set up your Wi-Fi’s password and SSID, there’s a good chance that devices used by people outside your company can join the network and use up precious data. What’s worse, that also means other devices in the network may be at risk of getting compromised by the unwanted guests.
Fortunately, setting up a password and network channel ID is quick and simple. Most installations also feature setup wizards that make it even easier for people who are not familiar with creating a local wireless network.
4. Distribute Bandwidth Properly.
Because some devices require higher priority when it comes to Internet access, the best way to make sure they get enough bandwidth is by setting bandwidth limits on other “low-priority” devices.
This way, you can be sure your network isn’t getting hogged by only several users while you’re sending or receiving files in your more important devices.
Take note that this is usually done only to limit internet bandwidth. Devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network rarely requires adjustments because data transfer within the local network takes a lot faster.
Using advanced network planning and software tools can also help with the setup, especially for networks with a larger volume of devices connecting to it at once.
There are no two identical Wi-Fi networks for businesses, as each setup is specifically catered to that business’ size, layout, and bandwidth needs.
Understanding how to make use of both Wi-Fi hardware and network management software is essential to a properly functioning network.