When it comes to connecting your office to the rest of the world, it requires a bit more forethought than simply looking for an Internet service provider (ISP) and hoping for the best. Sure, finding a reliable ISP does play a critical part in it all, but before you can even think of sending out those callback requests, there are a few things that you need to determine first.
Here are 6 tips for setting up your small business’s wireless network
- Understand the space – To start with, you need to look at how big your actual office space is. Think about where the walls and other barriers are, and which areas require connectivity. Ideally, you want to have the entire space connected to a fast and reliable Internet connection. In most cases, a signal booster or additional access points may be necessary to provide sufficient coverage.
- Line requirements – This is fairly straightforward. Firstly, look at how many people need to connect to the Internet. Remember, every connection made will impact the speed of your connection. Additionally, consider what people will be doing while connected. If video calls are standard or employees need to download large files, you will need to ensure that regardless of how many people are using the Internet, the rest of the office remains unaffected by the potential strain on the connection.
Once you have established how the line will be used and determined your needs, your ISP should be able to assist you in selecting the package that best fits those requirements.
- Fibre installation – Without a doubt, fibre lines offer the fastest, most reliable and highest capacity Internet connections out there. Most new office blocks will have fibre preinstalled. Then it’s a simple matter of contacting the line provider to get a list of their preferred ISP partners and arranging the installation. Use the steps above to find out what the ideal connection speed would be for your office and get a quote on packages that will deliver on this. Don’t be afraid to shop around for quotes and ask for referrals. In the age of digital, there’s no excuse for having an unreliable connection, especially in the office.
- A hybrid solution – The solution most often used by businesses is a hybrid option combining both Wi-Fi (wireless connections) and ethernet connectivity (connections that use LAN cables). This kind of option is flexible, scalable and reliable. It is widely used for its dependable nature, as the failure of one network node will not result in complete network failure. It also means you can connect more devices without additional equipment costs.
- Security is important – Encrypted connections should be standard to keep your business safe. For users connecting to the Wi-Fi, ensure that they have the correct password and make sure that it is changed regularly to prevent potential security breaches. It’s recommended that you make it a practice to regularly update your security systems and have your staff follow online safety guidelines. You can also implement certain restrictions within the network by blocking out unwanted sites during certain hours and restricting the connection to processes related to your business.
- Futureproof solutions – When it comes to implementing new tech, the most important thing is knowing how long it will meet your needs before needing an upgrade. Scalable solutions will ensure that as your business grows, so does your network. A solution suitable for 10 users will not suffice for 20 users. Select your ISP with the future in mind. If it doesn’t offer flexible, short-term contracts that are easy to scale up and down, you may want to look somewhere else.
In 2020, it was reported that there were 4.54 billion active Internet users worldwide. By January 2021, this had grown to 4.66 billion. To keep up with the world, remain relevant and grow your business, you need to ensure that your business can connect with a global and local community. Ensuring your employees can access fast and reliable Internet is the first step on that journey.
By Matthew Campbell, Head of SME and FTTH at SEACOM