What is a network and why do you need one? Well, if either of these questions just popped into your head, you’re in a lot more trouble than you may think! In our wireless age of laptops, tablets and smartphones, and social media, having an internet connection is important. As a business owner, not only do you and your employees need internet access (not just for Facebook either!) but you need a wireless connection to one another, and the many devices in your office.
Get the right hardware. You can buy computers, laptops or tablets that tickle your fancy, but when it comes to the real hardware and general office machinery, its best to be a little more discerning. You will need a modem to gain internet access, which is obtained through your internet service provider. It’s important that this modem has a “wireless gateway,” which will allow computers to link up to it wirelessly. If it is just a standard modem, you will need to purchase a separate wireless router, which will attach to the modem and permit computers and other devices to link to the modem for internet wirelessly. For office equipment (printers, copiers etc.) ensure they also have wireless capability (particularly relevant if you are buying used equipment).
Choose a service provider. This is important. You need a provider that will not only offer you a great deal as a business, but will also have a fast enough internet connection. You don’t want to be uploading files to a cloud drive, or trying to download an email attachment and have it take too long, or repeatedly see it fail. With your entire network consistently linked to the internet wirelessly, you need to have consistent performance and speed. Additionally, you want to choose a company with a good record of customer service. If, for any reason, your connection goes down, or there is a billing mistake, you want to be assured that the company you have will work diligently and professionally to provide a solution.
Create your network correctly. If you purchase a router it will often come with a disc that will walk you through the process. All of the computers in your office will have to join the network, and if you have any desktop computers, you may need to buy a separate wireless USB adapter for each, as desktops do not generally come wirelessly enabled. Once each device is properly added to the network, you must secure it. Password protect everything, and make it a complex password. After all this is done, you can focus on getting the office equipment synced with all the computers on the network, and ensure file sharing within the network is working.
For the most part, setting up your business’s wireless network isn’t all that complicated. Computers are designed to prompt you to connect to things, and they automatically search for available internet connections (hardwire or wireless). There are instructional discs, wizards and manuals for pretty much everything you need regarding your network. Don’t fret!