A Networked Business
A network is basically computers and devices, like printers and servers, hooked up to each other. This allows for easy file transfer and printing of documents. If there was no network in place, files and resources would not be available to all of the computer users in the company. Networking allows resources to be distributed to all or some of the computers. It allows for user management and consolidation of files. A larger version of a network is the Internet. The Internet consists of computers, users, and resources available to all or a select number of people, i.e. e-mail, Facebook, etc.
Two Methods to Network a Business
The challenge for many small and medium businesses is how to link the computers in the network to each other. There are two ways to do this:
The method you choose will determine how fast your network runs and the level of physical security it has. Wired is preferable in my opinion because it allows for higher speeds and adds a level of security, as I will discuss later, that is not available in wireless networks. Wireless networks, for their part, spare businesses of having to wire their offices with cables and jacks in the walls and therefore spare them also of having high costs associated with cabling their buildings.
To Go with Wire or Wireless?
As I’ve mentioned, wired networking adds a layer of physical protection. What it does is it makes it mandatory for someone to be physically present in the premises and linked to the network through a physical wire. Wireless networking on the other hand can be hacked, if proper security measures are not taken, as it broadcasts the wireless signals in and outside of the business compound. Hackers can come in their car and pick up your wireless signals and can intrude. Wireless signals aren’t broadcast everywhere, and have a range of typically 50 to 100 meters. This is the basic disadvantage of wireless networking.
Wireless networks do offer a less expensive option for businesses when it comes to networking. Foregoing cables and jacks in the wall, they give businesses flexibility in terms of physical location of computers and printers. For small businesses a wireless router should do the job as it can handle up to 25 devices sufficiently. Anything more would require a dedicated router with a dedicated wireless access point (WAP).
I have done both wired and wireless network setups. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For small businesses requiring one unit, I would recommend to go with wireless as it saves businesses the hassles mentioned above. If there is room for cabling through the walls, then wired would be my first choice.