Published on April 29, 2021
The business world evolves and your company’s activities change. It’s likely the configuration of your local network (or LAN) will also evolve as a result. Whether it’s to adapt your network to the size of your organization or to set it up in a new location, you need to ensure you have the best configuration possible based on your needs right from the start. Here are a few tips to help you get there.
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Local network migration: Keep the future in mind!
At one time, a computer network was just a router, a relay, and a lot of Ethernet cables. This was before the advent of cloud computing, remote work, and the bevy of other new needs that make your company’s network vital to its success. This is especially true if your business is growing and you don’t want its development restricted by infrastructure that refuses to grow with you.
This means that considering your current and future evolution is the first thing to take into consideration when deploying a new network infrastructure. Not just in terms of the number of access points, but also its material components and any software that will lead to recurring expenses. For example, some network management platforms are sold under a licence, which must be regularly renewed (otherwise your investment will likely be rendered obsolete). You need to take these future costs into consideration during your planning. On the other hand, you also need to determine whether the technology you plan to adopt will need technical support in the long term, or if you can count on continuing to use the network hardware once the support period has ended.
When it comes to software, there are many applications and customized services that are now offered to businesses. Companies pay an amount that is determined based on their use of the application or service. The same formula exists for business networks: You are provided with a centralized management interface, which is good, but it’s delivered with services and tools that can be sold individually depending on the company’s needs, which will increase (or decrease) the total cost depending on your situation.
Execution: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
In the world of technology, people really like to talk about agile management, scalable services, and adaptability. This way of thinking could serve your business model quite well, but it might also be risky if you apply it to the design of your local network. As explained by Éric Bélair, a network specialist for Fibrenoire, a reliable network is one that, at a fundamental level, was planned to provide redundancy in order to circumvent any eventual equipment breakdowns.
“You need to perform a network audit. It’s essential to identify its shortcomings in order to avoid having a local outage affect your entire company. This means you’ll need to plan for some duplication at certain points. For example, an office tower that only has one switch controlling the wireless access points for one floor will mean the entire floor will go down if the switch fails.”
Pitfalls to avoid: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
The biggest pitfall to investing in your network infrastructure is choosing the wrong technology. Whether it’s due to budgetary reasons or because a certain technology is suddenly fashionable, such a mistake could end up costing you a lot. And ultimately you’ll have to reinvest in a technology that is better adapted to your company’s needs.
Sometimes an all-in-one solution sold off-the-shelf by a supplier might do the job. But the bigger your company grows, the more this solution is likely to hold you back. Fibrenoire offers customized solutions that will adapt to your current and future needs. By pairing the latest technology, like the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, with an on-demand formula, it’s possible for a company to always possess the best possible network without having to locally handle the infrastructure, management interfaces, user licences, etc.
It’s also a way to free your own IT experts from having to maintain your local network on a daily basis, enabling them to focus on tasks that are more productive to the growth of your business activities.
The security of your local network is essential. This needs to be considered during every step of its implementation, and remain a priority afterward. At the same time, security can’t be oppressive. Finding the right balance is definitely a problem. For example, centralized control of management tools is practical, since it allows you to control your network from any Internet access point. However, this could also render your network more vulnerable if you don’t choose a provider that’s recognized for their ability to secure networks from threats and other risks.
Choosing equipment: Don’t put the cart before the horse!
All your employees are equipped with a cellphone and a wireless connection. It’s reasonable to imagine that one Wi-Fi network is all your company would need to operate. Is this true? Definitely not. In addition to more demanding infrastructure in terms of bandwidth, such as internal servers, a higher number of people trying to connect to a single Wi-Fi network will end up congesting the network.
On the other hand, you can’t put aside Wi-Fi completely since it increases your office’s productivity, allows you to host visitors more effectively, etc. In other words, a Wi-Fi network at a company is practical, but only for part of your total network use. For the rest, you’ll need to have access to physical infrastructure.
Choosing the right equipment means you’ll need to perform a survey of your office spaces to optimize the deployment of wired and wireless networks. Both types go hand-in-hand, because Wi-Fi access points eventually end up connecting to your cable network.
A common mistake in choosing network equipment is to think about the equipment and infrastructure first, then try to adapt users’ needs after the fact.
Once you have an idea of your network use, it becomes a lot simpler to envision the final form it will adopt.