Businesses need resources to execute their day-to-day business operations. The internet is undoubtedly the most needed resource. However, having a high-speed Internet connection does not make sense if business computer devices and mobile devices cannot connect to the Internet.
Here is where networking comes into the picture. Setting up a business network is much more complex than setting up the home network. A home network consists of only one or two networking devices and limited connections. But a business network consists of many networking devices and a large number of wired and wireless connections.
Given the fact that a business network always remains on the radar of cybercriminals, there isn’t a scope of error in setting up the network. Thus, setting up a network isn’t a task, it is the process.
In this blog, I will share everything you need to know about setting up the network including the details on networking hardware and real-time network monitoring.
Useful networking hardware to set up a small business network
Unlike a home network, a small business network is made out of 3 major networking components. These components are switch, router, and access point.
Let’s understand each of these components comprehensively.
What is the network switch?
A network switch is sometimes called a switching hub or bridging hub. A switch establishes a connection with computing devices such as desktop, fax machine, printers, and IP phone. It establishes a connection with these devices to transfer data.
Considering the fact that a switch identifies the destination device to send data, it is considered as a smart device. (Unlike the conventional hub, it does not send data to all connected devices in the network.)
There are many types of switches available in the market. But generally, a switch type largely depends on the number of ports it has. Switches usually have 5-port to 52-port configurations. A business is advised to buy a switch after calculating how many ports they will need to connect computer devices.
What is the network router?
A network router is similar to a network switch. Like a network switch connects to computer devices, a network router connects to a network switch. By connecting multiple switches, the network router builds an even larger network.
In other words, a network router connects to already created networks with switches and computer devices. A router does not only connect networks, but it also enables connected devices to access the Internet through the switch.
Overall, a router is the dispatcher which gets data through the Internet, transfers it to relevant switch and switch then transfers the data to the destination device.
What is the access point?
Network router and switch have one serious disadvantage. Both of these networking devices can only actualize a wired network. Meaning, only the computer devices which are connected to switch through a physical wire can only access the Internet. A network created with switches and routers cannot let mobile devices access the internet wirelessly.
The access point solves this problem. It is nothing but a networking device that connects to switch through an ethernet cable but lets mobile devices access the Internet wirelessly. In the easiest term, it actualizes the Wi-Fi within a defined range.
Small business network architecture
Now when you know all networking components which together build a small business network, let’s understand the small business network architecture.
Please refer to the following image. Here in this image, as you can see, the routers get data from the Internet, and later it sends data to a relevant switch. As soon as the switch gets data, it identifies the destination device and sends data to that device.
If there is a wireless network, the access point is connected to the switch, and users can access the Internet wirelessly through the connected access points.
Here, it is worth mentioning the most popular networking device which is a firewall.
The firewall is nothing but the network security device which monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and prevents the cyberattack by building a barrier between a network and incoming traffic from external sources.
In the conventional network, network engineers used to deploy the firewall between router and switch. However, nowadays manufacturers are selling a router that is equipped with the firewall. This reduces network complexity and reduces networking hardware costs.
Real-time network monitoring
Setting up the network is just the first step. For maximum uptime and security, you should keep an eagle eye on the network. For that, you should use network monitoring or network security software which enables network administrators to get real-time data of the network.
Generally, a network administrator monitors the two most crucial aspects of the network – the availability of networking hardware and network security or network health.
Networking hardware availability: Network admin should always ensure that there isn’t any failing networking hardware. If there is failing hardware, it affects the whole network and causes downtime which is always costly.
To make sure of the high availability of network resources, network monitoring tools are used. It gives real-time performance information of each networking hardware to admin and even predicts the failing hardware so that network admin can take the precautionary steps and avoid the network downtime.
Network security: Safeguarding a business network means safeguarding the business! Poor initial design and users accessing the Internet make the network vulnerable to cyber attacks. Thus, it is vitally important to monitor the network and make sure the network is secured enough to prevent cyberattacks.
A firewall works best here. Its software solution facilitates network admin or security experts to get real-time security status of the network and identify the attack before it causes havoc. The following are the top game-changing benefits of the firewall.
- The network admin can know the connected network and data usage.
- The network admin can know the locations from where the cybercriminals are trying to invade the network.
- Admin can differentiate the most affected network.
- Admin can apply content filtering to not let users open inappropriate sites.
- Every single activity of the user is logged which admin can see.
Setting up a business network is a tedious task. Switches and routers are the most important networking hardware to build a wired network while an access point along with switch and router is used to build a wireless network.
After setting up the business network, one should monitor and maintain the network as a networking device can anytime stop working and cause major downtime. Most importantly, cybercriminals can get access to the network and steal crucial business information. To ensure the high availability of networking devices, network monitoring tools are used and to ensure the network security, software solution of firewall is used widely.
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