A computer network is an essential element of modern business, and it’s increasingly indispensible in the home, too. A network lets your computer connect to the Web so that you can check e-mail, update a website, or teleconference. It also lets you communicate locally with other computers on the same local network. Creating a network is simple—all that’s needed is to connect a computer to a router with an Ethernet cable. That’s a very rudimentary setup, however. You’ll need other components if you want to add multiple computers to your network, share files, stream multimedia, share a printer, or control which computers can access data on the network. And complexity increases if you decide that some links in your network will be made wirelessly. Fortunately, assistance is always needed. We’ve gathered together a list of some devices you’ll need to quickly and easily set up a home or small home-office network, and some key hints for getting it all to work together.
Today, the home office has become a popular choice for a work environment because Internet-based technologies allow individuals to work from home using email, Web, VoIP, and remote access software to communicate with global employers. A home office is a good choice for professionals who operate their own service-based small business and for some Internet-based business including email marketing services, SEO consulting or ecommerce.
When building a small office network, the two most essential pieces of equipment you will need are switches and routers. Here are a few of the devices for a soho and enterprise business network.
Cisco UC520 SBCS
UC520 Cisco SBCS Call Manager Express (CME) based VOIP solution
UC520 Cisco Smart Business Communications System (SBCS) is a complete voice, data, video, and wireless networking system for small businesses. Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series for Small Business solution eliminates the need for multiple servers and combines voice, data, voicemail, Automated Attendant, video, security, and wireless capabilities. It also integrates with existing desktop applications such as calendar, e-mail, and customer relationship management (CRM) programs. The easy-to-manage solution supports up to 64 users in flexible deployment models based on your needs. A Video review HERE
FOR WIFI NETWORKING
The RT-N12 is a 300Mbps Wireless N Router with both wired and wireless network connections designed specifically for small business and home office networking use. With 2T2R MIMO Technology and two detachable 5dBi high gain antennas, the RT-N12 creates a an extended coverage area with advanced wireless performance, making it ideal for streaming HD video, placing VoIP calls and online gaming. With the ASUS unique Quick Internet Setup and Graphical User Interface, the RT-N12 is easy for anyone to install and manage, even for novices! The RT-N12 even allows you to set up 4 SSIDs, so, users can flexibly manage internet access and bandwidth allocation.
WD 4TB EX2100 NAS
WD MYCLOUD SERIES STORAGE DEVICES
Western Digital in February added four new models to its lineup of network-attached storage devices. The new models are aimed at high-end consumers and small and midsize businesses. The My Cloud Expert Series and My Cloud Business Series each include two-bay and four-bay models accessible on LANs or through the cloud, and all provide sharing, streaming and automated backup capabilities with capacities up to a whopping 24 TB. Other WD My Cloud models include a Linux-based My Cloud Business series aimed at small businesses, and a My Cloud Expert series targeting photographers, videographers, graphic designers and other creative professionals. The secret sauce behind each one of these offerings is the WD MyCloud that helps SOHO and SMB customers manage data the way they want to at a sub-$1,000 price point.
Tripp Lite PDU-Ethernet Combo
FOR SMB NETWORKING
The Tripp Lite PDU-Ethernet Combo
In many small businesses or in departments where space is at a premium, Ethernet ports, electrical outlets and rack space can run out faster than Keurig cups. That’s the ideal scenario for the Tripp Lite PDU-Ethernet Switch 1U Combo, which combines as many as 12 AC outlets and 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports in a single 1U device for standard 19-inch racks. The Tripp Lite’s Model NSU-G24C2 (which costs $250) got thumbs-up in many reviews. Our test model sported a dozen 12-amp NEMA 5-15R AC outlets on the rear panel with 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the front, in addition to two mini-GBIC SFP ports for linking multiple switches via fiber optics.
Plan for the Worst
Backup plans are the most critical element of your network. You’ve got to protect your data, whether it’s your precious personal pictures and home videos or critical business data. Schedule regular backups of your data. Also, periodically test your backup system’s restore capabilities to ensure that the backups are valid and free from any data corruption.
There are of course, several ways to backup your network’s data. Most NAS devices have robust backup capabilities which are relatively easy for anyone to setup. Windows servers also have a built-in back-up feature, and Mac, of course, offers Time Machine. You can set up your own local backup system given enough external storage space. If you’re going to take this course, we recommend creating not just a backup, but a whole drive image—that is, a backup of not just your data, but your entire PC—everything from your files to all the tweaks you make to your OS and apps so that they perform the way you want them to. Some of best software for this are Symantec’s Norton Ghost 14.0, Acronis Backup & Recovery 10, and Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15.
With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to right the wrongs of Windows 8. And it has. Windows 10 bridges the gap between the traditional PC running Windows 7 and the world of touch based tablets. Microsoft has transcended just one desktop platform — be it tablet, PC or smartphone — to become a universal operating system. Windows 10’s marquee features are the return of the Start menu, a massively improved user interface and Microsoft’s personal assistant, Cortana — and the fact that it’s free. We have been using Windows 10 for months and considers it a huge improvement over Windows 8.1.
Dell PowerEdge FX2
On the front lines of Dell’s server offensive is its PowerEdge FX2, which represents an entirely new modular blade server architecture—unique to Dell—delivering a converged infrastructure, density and efficiency all within a 2U rack form factor. With FX2, customers can adopt a building-block approach to their infrastructure. The chassis can be filled with a choice of sled modules each optimized for just about anything users want to throw at it: Web hosting, virtualization, direct attached storage or running databases. Dell’s latest FX2, Model FC830, features a four-socket full-width node for compute intensive workloads.
These are the key ingredients for establishing a small home or business network. In fact, they’re the basic building blocks for a network of any size: a network as described above is just a scale model of any computer network—even those in huge enterprises. You can add complexity and size to a network, but once you’ve got your home or small-business network setup, you’ve mastered the basics of setting up any size network.