Small Business Computer Network Cabling and Wireless Network Options – A Tough Decision

Cabling up an office is expensive. So what should you do when you move premises? There are a few basic options for the small business owner.

The first question I often get is “Can I just go completely wireless?”. The answer is yes you can, but be prepared to do it properly and be prepared for it to be a bit more complex than you first thought.

Many small businesses typically use a home grade wireless router for their wireless networking needs. This is the kind of appliance that you’d usually have at home. The bad news is that while this might kind of get you by, it’s not a business grade solution and it’s not usually very secure.

Business grade wireless access points have several features that most of the home grade appliances don’t have.

Firstly you might need a larger, more powerful antenna to better cover your office, which most of the home wireless routers don’t offer.

Secondly, if you’re concerned about security for your wireless network, then you should consider having the computers that use your wireless network authenticate with your network server using a technology such as RADIUS.

Thirdly, you might need multiple wireless access points to seamlessly work together to cover your entire office, which the home wireless router won’t help you with.

Fourthly you might want to monitor who’s connecting to your wireless network and again a technology like RADIUS will help with this.

Lastly if you intend to allow guests to your office to connect to the internet then you’ll need to segregate them from the rest of your network and give them a secure way of connecting without giving away your office passwords.

The other issue with wireless networks is that often yours can be prone to interference from other nearby offices.

Not so simple is it?

So the other option is to cable up an office. The thing about cabling an office is that you get a higher quality, faster, more secure network. If you’re doing this afresh, make sure to ask your network cabling contractor to use Category 6 network cabling as it’ll be more reliable with the higher speeds that are coming out for networks.

Cabling an office is expensive, but unless you’ve got a big budget for a wireless network to do it properly, it’s probably the best option.

Many businesses will have their office cabled and have wireless access for their meeting areas. This is normal and it’s a lot simpler than setting up a wireless network to cover every nook and cranny in many offices.

Go in with your eyes wide open and be prepared to compromise a little bit with the wireless and remember that the wireless appliances like the one you have at home are just that, home grade appliances.

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