Although setting up computer networks has become easier in recent years, it is still advisable to get an IT professional in to configure the computer network due to possible pit falls.
Not Buying Business Grade Equipment
In order to run an efficient business network, all the computer equipment should be business grade. The operating systems for the computers and laptops need to be Windows Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate. Home versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems only support peer to peer networking, i.e. file sharing which means they cannot be joined to a server.
Another mistake small businesses tend to make is not using business grade routers. Businesses generally need the flexibility to gain access to external servers’ across technologies such as VPN (Virtual Private Networks) and RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). QoS (Quality of Service), which prioritises network traffic, making a more efficient network, especially when using technology such as VoIP or VPN, is only available on business grade equipment and often required by SMEs.
Incorrect wiring of the Network
Incorrectly wiring an IT network can cause all sorts of connectivity issues. For a client/server network to work correctly, the computer equipment needs to be connected to the server either using cables or wirelessly. A common mistake is when both ends of an Ethernet cable are plugged into the same switch, creating a Network Storm, resulting in all the connections on the entire network to fail. In a standard client/server network this will prevent the affected computers from accessing the information on the server or the internet. Although this type of issue is easy to rectify, it is very difficult to locate.
Another common problem found within existing wired infrastructures is network ports not connected from the patch panel to the switch, causing no network connectivity. This is a simple fix which is often overlooked. In the case of a wireless network, large offices often require multiple access points. These access points need to be positioned correctly for optimum network coverage, ensuring the entire office can access the wireless network.
A common problem which affects both home and business networks is the incorrect positioning of an ADSL router; by not plugging it in to the master socket can reduce internet speeds.
Incorrect Licensing of software
There are three main types of licensed software, retail, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and volume licensing. OEM software is used by computer suppliers, and supplied when purchasing new computer systems. These licenses are not transferable and can only be used on that specific computer. Retail licenses are purchased when software needs installing onto existing systems which are currently owned. However what a lot of people do not realise, is when they buy retail software, the license is only valid for a limited amount of installs; once this limit is reached additional licences will need to be purchased. Volume licensing is primarily used in the hosting environments or when a company purchases several copies of the same software.
Often in a business environment sensitive data is stored on a server, which often requires restricted access. Restricting access is managed using permissions, giving only specific users access to the data contained within these folders, therefore protecting its contents.
Computers within a network rely on a series of IP addresses to both communicate to each other and identify themselves. IP addresses are allocated within certain ranges which are generally allocated automatically by the network server or router, but in certain cases these addresses need to be inputted manually, known as a static IP address. If for whatever reason two resources obtain the same IP address, this will cause an IP address conflict resulting in either of these resources not communicating across the network. An example of this would be a printer being statically assigned an IP address which is the same as an IP address already automatically allocated to a computer by either the server or router. The result of this would cause either the printer or computer to go offline, not communicating with the rest of the network.
Not ensuring the network is secure
There are various aspects to securing an IT network; mainly the need to prevent access by unauthorised individuals, but allowing access to those who need it. Logins are created for all employees or individuals that require access to the network. These logins can also be used to limit the access individuals have to data or programs, and also prevent anyone without a login from accessing the network. All wireless connections should be encrypted to a high level to prevent unauthorised access to the data and information from outside the network.
Firewalls should be configured with specific rules stopping unauthorised external access to the server and/or network, while allowing legitimate traffic through. Browser security and privacy settings should also be set to protect the network from viruses, spam and hacking. Anti-virus and anti-spyware should be installed to all computers and the servers preventing these attacks from infecting the network. Should a networked computer be infected by a virus or other forms of malware, this could easily be passed to the server via the network including all other computers connect to the same network.
The argument of wired versus wireless network
Which is better for your business, having a wired or a wireless network? Do you need a wired network but with wireless access points for meetings or visitors? These considerations need to be taken into account before setting up your IT network. Should a completely wireless network be required, then all the resources connecting to this network require wireless cards, including printers, scanners and computers, etc. Although this is possible, it is generally not the norm. Usually a business will have a wired network with some wireless capability. Desktop computers, like those used by most businesses, do not come with wireless capability as standard and are usually an optional extra.
Other basic mistakes
A common mistake made when configuring an IT network is the inability to troubleshoot any issues or complications that arise due to lack of knowledge. This could include network card failure, unresponsive router, bad drivers or software settings, etc. resulting in a large amount of expenditure to resolve a simple inexpensive problem.
Databax offers professional networking and it support solutions to individuals and organisations, please get in touch for more information using the contact form below or call 0844 543 7501