You are starting a new business or are currently moving into a new location, you have a staff of five to ten people, and you’re interested in the cloud but not fully committed to a cloud environment. Here are some products and services that should make some wise choice for completing a small office network setup.
Router – Sometimes the router is integrated with the package but I would consider a Sonicwall if it’s not. Despite being bought by Dell, their customer service remains top notch and VPN is a basic function that can be integrated into your office. Keep in mind you have pay $75 a year for the support subscription but it is well worth it. Otherwise, go for a home office router like the Buffalo if you have a very simplistic network.
Access Points and Switch Integration– This not only provides your premise more coverage but contains multiple ethernet cable outputs for adding additional wired devices to your network. The Ubiquiti Access Point has a great price point but lacks a switch capability. Make sure lock down your hot spot or contact your IT consultant to have it done for you.
Alternative to D-Link Access Point and Switch – This not only provides your premise more coverage but contains multiple ethernet cable outputs for adding additional wired devices to your network. Make sure lock down your hot spot or contact your IT consultant to have it done for you.
CAT 5e Ethernet Cables – These cables are the standard for those guys that come in and do your cabling. This is worthy of mentioning because if you are short, you are going to pay an arm and a leg to get these cables at the local store. A 7’ cable is a good all-around cable but 3’ cables are perfect for patching into the closet
Network Switch – A critical piece towards providing a stable and speedy network is to provide each device their own dedicated network drop. The number of ports on the switch should vary depending on the situation. A 24 port should be more than enough ports to connect all the devices in a ten user or less network environment.
Choose Your Ideal Switch
UnManaged Network Switch – Basic switch
Managed Network Switch – Used for VLAN traffic. Best value and significantly cheaper than Cisco. Ubiquity offers some top notch support too.
Remote Support or Telecommute Software – The best cloud base software by far is Logmein.com. They support up to ten workstations for free and get you and your employees out of a lot of jams with it.
Phones – Forget the bell packages. VoIP offers so much more flexibility for your office network setup and for a very competitive price. Be careful what you commit to. Some VoIP do not work as advertise and you may need an unbiased consultant to provide you the best solution for your office needs. Here are some of the well known providers or some I have worked with.
Megapath and Jive so far have rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not sure if I feel compelled to use them again.
Printer or MFPs – These multifunctional devices are so intuitive now and cheap that leasing makes no sense whatsoever. My latest favorite is from Kyocera. The FS-1135 MFP or the newer M2535DN. A sound solution is receiving faxes into your email inbox while faxing out hard copies from the Kyocera. These also come with configurable shortcut buttons for one push, send to desktop scanned PDFs.
Scanners – Every front desk person needs one especially medical practices when performing patient in-take. The Fujitsu FI-6130z is the latest from a long line of excellent Fujitsu scanners that are capable of scanning IDs and large stacks of documents, single sided, and duplex.
Internet – This may vary depending on how bandwidth intensive your office but having synchronous bandwidth of 2 megs with the potential of 10 is ideal. Though, I have seen it a newer commercial districts 35/35 megs is approximately a $100. This is a great price considering on old school T1 of 1.5 megs can sometimes be $500. Anyway, do your homework, try to get the most bang for your buck, and do not commit to any lengthy contracts.
*Read this for a more up to date guide on ISP speeds and technology.
File Server – Some office network setups require more control and flexibility but a low cost NAS may fit your basic redundant file storage needs.
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