The right network

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The right network
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Two and a half technologies
After that brief introspection, you’ll have some idea about what you want from the network, the physical landscape you’re working in, and how the network will accommodate your business in the short to medium term. There are numerous ways to dive into networking, but one of the most appropriate entry points is looking at the major types of technologies: wireless and wired.

Starting with wired networks, there’s one obvious advantage over wireless: security. By using closed cabling as the transfer medium, the network is restricted only to those ‘plugged in’ – the only other entry point is the Internet, which is typically blocked from accessing the internal network. The next advantage over wireless networks is speed, though unlike its inherent security features, wired networks are in constant competition to wireless.

Most small to medium businesses will encounter 100Mb/s Fast Ethernet, 1000Mb/s Gigabit Ethernet, or for older networks, 10Mb/s Ethernet. Ethernet technology has been in use for decades, and despite the growth in wireless use, Ethernet will be around for a while yet. Most wired networks would be running Fast Ethernet, however, with the ever increasing size of most file types, 100Mb/s is starting to get restrictive, making the higher throughput of Gigabit Ethernet much more viable.

Ethernet is such a flexible, ubiquitous technology that you’ll find it in most office environments. It could be connecting two PCs in a simple peer-to-peer arrangement, or it could be connecting large 1000 seat organisations running 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). Most importantly, however, is that regardless of the speed, Ethernet can take advantage of the existing twisted pair infrastructure of most offices, making it useful if you intend to upgrade in the future.

Top 5
Networking Rollout Tips

1. Maintaining good communications during your project ensures a problem free project. Many networking issues can be traced back to problems with the IT supplier not gathering the correct requirements for the business. It is always best to thoroughly review your needs to ensure the appropriate solution is delivered.

2. Ensure the solution is well designed to suit your current requirements and scalability. Also, try to think of what you need know and what will be needed in 3 years time, so the solution can be scaled to meet your growing business needs. It is harder and often more expensive to upgrade your systems one or two years later than it is to over-spec the solution in the first place.

3. Choose a good vendor with future warranty and support options to suit. This one is critical. You want (and need) your network running 24/7, so it pays to source hardware and software that is warranted and supported by reputable vendors. Also, most vendors now offer a range of warranty options depending on your requirements and the critical nature of the equipment. As a minimum we would not recommend anything less than a 3 year next business day warranty on all equipment.

4. Have suitable IT support/contracts in place to manage the environment moving forward. As with anything these days the better your investments are maintained the better the performance and reliability will be delivered. Also consider proactive maintenance offerings that are designed to look for issues with you network before they become critical issues that may cause you downtime or event data loss.

5. Document and thoroughly plan all facets of the project and work to (build guidelines and scope and responsibility). “Planning, planning, planning” is the best mantra to follow, ensuring the network is installed correctly with minimal fuss and distribution to you business. Also, documentation can be of great assistance when looking at additions down the track as well as providing a source of reference in case of a disaster.
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