How to Setup a Small Business Computer Network LAN

Setting up a small business computer network, also known as a Local Area Network (LAN), simply involves connecting multiple computers together so that every employee is able to access shared resources and the Internet.

Today’s business computer networks are essential to the success of your business due to their ability to make things dramatically easier and more efficient for you and your employees.

Here are four steps to follow to have your secure network up and running in no time:

1. Know the Difference Between Switches and Routers
When creating your small business network, there are two essential devices that you will need: switches and routers. Although they appear similar, these two pieces of equipment actually perform different tasks within your network.

Switches: Switches have the role of connecting several devices within your network. Each switch allows every device connected to it to talk to each other and share information.

Routers: Routers connect multiple networks, and you will need one or more of them. Each computer tied into your network is connected to the Internet through a router. Every computer in your network shares one Internet connection. The router controls the flow of information, protects it from security threats, connects your business to the outside world and can determine what computer gets priority over the others.

2. Select Either Wired or Wireless
In the past, each business computer network was wired; all computers and devices had to be connected using cables. Today’s wireless networks allow you to connect using a network via mobile devices.

Wireless networks offer the advantage of faster speeds and improved reliability when weather conditions are unfavorable. If you prefer, you can always use a wireless and wired system simultaneously.

3. Purchase Necessary Hardware
At this point, you will need to select and purchase the networking hardware necessary for your small business. You can either purchase new equipment or buy refurbished equipment if you need to save money.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you will need a wireless or wired router and a server that can be physical in nature or cloud-based.

4. Secure the Network
Securing your network is the next step. There are certain tasks that you must accomplish to complete this step. Here are some tasks that you will need to complete to secure your network:

  • Come up with an administrator login and password. It is important to change passwords often to maintain the security of your network.
    Enable a firewall and wireless encryption.
  • Create login names and secure passwords for your network and the employees who use it. Be sure to change them often for security.
    Safeguard your computer network by installing reliable security software.
  • Always ensure that your router is located securely to prevent it from being tampered with by unauthorized parties.
  • Once you have set up your router, log into it by entering into your browser address bar. Depending upon the specific type of router you use, you should see a security tab. Wi-Fi Protected Access is the main security standard for encrypted wireless networks. It is sometimes known as WPA and WPA2. Assuming this option is supported by your router, enter a strong alphanumeric password at this time.

The Bottom Line
When it comes to creating a small business computer network, preferences are everything. After deciding upon your desired layout and selecting the needed tools, you only need to hook everything up and tweak a setting here and there to be in business.