Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to plan a small business computer network - 2

Yesterday we posted the 1st chapter of this article. This is the second part of this article.

Author - Kushan Weralupitiya

How to interconnect computers?

Once you decide which person gets which kind of PC and how many PCs you need, the next task is how to interconnect them. You have 2 basic options to begin with, wired or wireless network.

How to choose the best network for you

For low cost and high speed, traditional wired networks are still the best choice. But if you prefer not to snake wires across rooms and through walls, then the available option is to go for wireless. If no single type of network is best for you, you can use a hybrid network with both wired and wireless.

Assess how many computers will be on the network now and in the future. You don’t want to decide to go wireless because you only have a couple computers now and find that you need wired in a few years when you have many computers. Also, how much data will be used on the network and how fast will it need to go. A company dealing with streaming video will have very different requirements than a company that only uses the network for file sharing and to check email.

A wired network

A typical computer network consists of switches, routers and broadband gateways. The major installation difference is that you will have to physically install wires from your router or switch to each PC that will be on the network (may be from room to room). Wired networks use wires similar to phone lines to connect you to the internet. Most networks use ‘CAT5 Ethernet’ cables. These Ethernet cables connect the Network Interface Card (NIC) in each PC and the network hub or switch by rj45 jacks at both ends. Typically most Motherboards have a NIC port, if not you can connect a PCI or USB supported NIC card externally.

If you have a broadband Internet connection you can connect your router with the network switch using a CAT5 cable to share Internet with all PCs. Same goes for other network devices such as printers, scanners etc.

A wireless network

A wireless business network can be used when installing wires can be very difficult. But this is much expensive than wired.

For a wireless network every PC must have a wireless PC card adapter. For PCs you can find PCI or USB adapters. Latest laptops come with inbuilt wifi, if not you can buy USB or PCMCIA wireless adapters. These wireless (wifi) adapters are expensive compared to a NIC used to connect to a wired network.

There are many different vendors and several different technologies to choose from. It is best if you pick all the same type of technologies for your routers and cards. You can pick different vendors, but most vendors work best with each other.

Which router should be used?

You can use a wireless router to connect computers in a single floor or else you can use a wireless gateway (it connects to your router with an Ethernet cable) to connect computers in different floors even.

Hiring a professional to implement the network

This article is just to help you understand the different options that are available for you, the basic steps you have to take in order to plan your network and what kind of hardware you should have. Once you plan them and know exactly what you want, you can hire a professional network engineer to help you implement the network.


If you are confident enough that you can implement the network, and if you have a back ground knowledge on computers, my next article will help you on that. I'm hoping to explain on how to set up a small network. If you do a google search, you can get many results on this. But I'm hoping to write an article customised on local requirements and local vendors. Until then, if you have any queries, please drop an email to the site. Have a good day :)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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