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Building a small office network starts with a foundation of switches and routers. It’s important to understand the difference between switches and routers and to develop a clear vision for what your network foundation needs.

The Difference Between Switches and Routers

When building a small office network, the two most essential pieces of equipment you will need are switches and routers. Though they look similar, the two devices perform different functions in a network.

Switches connect multiple devices (computers, printers, servers) on the same network within a building or campus. A switch enables connected devices to share information and talk to each other. Building a small office network isn’t possible without switches to tie devices together.

Routers tie multiple networks together. When building a small office network, you’ll need one or more routers. A router connects your networked computers to the Internet. This enables all connected computers to share one single Internet connection. A router acts as a dispatcher, choosing the best route for your information to travel. It connects your business to the world, protects information from security threats, and can even decide which computers get priority over others.

Determining the Best Foundation

When building a small office network, it’s important to determine the best foundation for your company’s needs. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Invest in business-grade switches and routers for reliable communications. Consumer or home networking products can’t keep pace with the challenges of business growth.
  • Invest in a network that can grow over time, so you can add features and functionality as needed. Additions to consider include video surveillance, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), integrated messaging, and wireless applications.
  • Make sure your switches and routers are easy to install, use, and manage. Example: Switches with in-line power allow you to place equipment, such as wireless access points, anywhere there’s a network wall jack. You’ll be spared the trouble and expense of installing additional electrical outlets or wires to power the devices.
  • Make sure your business phone network is designed with reliability and redundancy in mind. This provides the business continuity you’ll need to bounce back quickly from unforeseen circumstances.

Setting up a small office network can be very complex for many people. The technologies involved are getting more and more complicated every year. It’s generally a good idea to use an expert in this field to help insure everything is done correctly and is scalable for your future needs.

For more information, contact Advanced Communications: 888-919-4948.