February 7, 2024
Best Practices / Network Support

Network Setup 101: Essential Tips for Every Business

Written by Kelly Cazzanello
Co-workers sitting at a desk, working efficiently as they are working on a network built to support the tasks they need to do their day-to-day jobs.

With the advent of SaaS (service as a software) and the shift towards hybrid work environments, the way we use our office networks has evolved. Traditional networks were designed for computers within a network to communicate with each other. Now, the focus is on supporting many internet-connected devices for diverse purposes, including video conferencing, cloud-based applications, and collaborative online tools.

When building a network today, it’s important to consider the varied and dynamic nature of these interactions and the range of devices that facilitate them. Let’s delve into this new era of network configurations and learn about some key considerations businesses must consider to understand when setting up their network.

Understanding Your Needs

The first step in setting up a business network is understanding your business needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What apps are core to your business?
  • How many people will work in your office? How many guests?
  • Do employees or guests bring their own devices to the office?

These are just a few questions that will inform the design of the perfect business network. Check out our previous blog post for guidance on developing a comprehensive IT strategy for your growing organization.

Once we understand the key design requirements, (aka what we are building the network to do) we can consider more of the the technical requirements, such as the bandwidth requirements for your daily operations. Network bandwidth is defined as the maximum data transfer capacity of any network at any given time.

A traditional network of servers and desktop PCs will have very different bandwidth considerations than a modern SaaS and cloud-first business. Performance is key, and ensuring your network can handle your business activities, such as video conferencing, large file downloads, and streaming, without lag is crucial for efficiency.

Every business is unique, and so are its networking requirements. The rise of SaaS and hybrid work models has dramatically changed what businesses need from their networks.

The modern network aims to ensure seamless connectivity with cloud-based services and remote access for a distributed workforce. The key questions now revolve around core apps, device and bandwidth requirements, and BYOD considerations. Tailoring your network to these evolving needs is the first step towards a future-proof business.

Brick and Mortar Considerations

While COVID introduced the reality of hybrid and remote work to businesses, many either kept their offices or are now considering the advantages of returning to the office. In addition, sectors like retail and healthcare rely on physical locations to do business. Regardless of the “why” behind this choice, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when setting up your network in a physical space:

  • Many retail or office leases now have Approved Vendor Lists (AVLs) built into all agreements, which limit tenants to a specific number of vendors to use when renting a space. This can include internet service providers (ISPs), some of which may consist of only low-voltage providers. If you require a high-voltage provider, you may have to inquire about bringing one in.
  • The average time to get a proposal for a fiber connection is approximately 90 days. Meaning if you don’t include network planning in your office build-out, your employees could be left without internet on opening day.
  • In many offices, access to the building’s network closet is heavily restricted and requires advanced scheduling. In addition to the above points, this can add considerable time to your build-out plan if not considered during the design phase.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

Hopefully, this got you thinking about some key considerations for building a network. At Interlaced, we understand that a robust network is more than just connectivity; it’s a foundation for growth and efficiency. If you’re looking for help building and designing your network, chat with us today. Our expertise lies in crafting networks that not only meet your current needs but also anticipate future trends.

The journey continues as we prepare to dive into the practical aspects of designing networks. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we delve deeper into making your network resilient.

Kelly Cazzanello

Kelly Cazzanello

Kelly is a dedicated Paid Media Manager with 8 years of experience in the field of digital marketing. She is deeply passionate about processes, the connections forged between users and brands, and the profound impact that a skillfully executed campaign can have.