A properly configured and implemented network is the key to connecting various departments and devices in any modern enterprise. This network may consist of a variety of devices, and ensuring that each one is operational is critical to the enterprise’s success. Setting up an enterprise-level network can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Get organized with this enterprise network equipment checklist and learn about the various components that make up an effective enterprise network.
Here are a few of the most important pieces of business network gear you’ll need.
The router is one of the most crucial components of any network. Because it will be connecting other bits of your network day in and day out, you should think of this device as the backbone of your business. Routers control how your office’s workers connect to your network and the internet. Routers can also be used to split a larger business network into smaller sub-networks that can be managed and accessed by individual offices or departments. Routers can be used to connect different sites on your enterprise network to your larger full enterprise network.
Switches connect different devices to a network in the same way that hubs do. Network switches come in a variety of sizes and can connect as few as two devices to as many as hundreds of employee machines. Network Switches can be thought of as a smarter version of a network hub.
Switches, unlike routers and access points, are rarely connected wirelessly. Hardwire connections are used instead to connect devices to switches. Other devices will then connect wirelessly to the switch through the hardwired connections of the other components. A rack will typically be found in a server room or IT closet, where switches will connect hardwired devices to the network.
Switches can also save routing information, allowing the device to help improve network efficiency. Devices connected to a switch will have their interactions with the rest of the local area network controlled, ensuring that enterprise resources are used effectively and that no single device consumes too much bandwidth or slows down the network. Switches can also assist with network security by restricting which users or devices are allowed access. Network switch with Ethernet ports that will power and support PoE Devices with PoE network switches.
In most cases, your ISP will provide you with a modem (Internet Service Provider). They are the main means by which your devices receive data from the internet. Modems send digital signals over phone lines most of the time. Routers connect to the outside world through modems and then provide access to data transmitted through and from the router to devices connected to the router. You could use a router without a modem, but the router’s capabilities would be severely restricted. A modem and router, when used together, allow employees, or even an entire office, to connect to a network that gives them access to the internet and other networks that may or may not be in the same physical location.
Many devices in an office need to connect to a network at times. That’s where network hubs come in handy when it comes to setting up your company’s network. A hub is a network component that allows multiple other devices to connect to the same local network, such as printers, computers, and other smart devices. Signal boosters can also be provided by hubs within a single physical location.
A single router, for example, may not be able to reach or connect to all devices in your office if it is located on different floors of a building. A hub could boost that signal while connecting multiple devices to the network at the same time. In large offices, multiple hubs could be used to greatly increase the maximum size of a network.
It’s important to remember that hubs only work within a local area network and do not connect to any external devices or the internet. To communicate with the outside world, a hub would still need to be connected to a router via a modem.
Gateways connect various autonomous networks, basically allowing the formation of an enterprise-grade network, in a similar way that routers do. Gateways use a variety of protocols to connect and translate different network technologies.
If your company has multiple offices in different physical locations, for example, those offices may use different local area network equipment or protocols. Gateways work by allowing devices that use different protocols to communicate effectively with one another. A high-end router with the ability to translate different protocol configurations can be thought of as a gateway.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones
When creating an enterprise network equipment checklist, VoIP (Voice over IP) phones are often ignored. These are phones that connect to the network via the internet rather than through a phone line. Auto dialing from a connected PC and quick call recording are just a few of the features that VoIP phone system offers. Automated services, such as menus for consumers to communicate with or the presentation of pre-recorded messages to users before contact, are also supported by these phones.
Surveillance & Security Cameras
Security and surveillance options are another often overlooked but critical component of any enterprise-level network. Your enterprise network will integrate and monitor devices like cameras and security systems. This enables you to better secure your company both physically and practically. Your team can access cameras on your network remotely, allowing for more effective security practices.
Remote monitoring and maintenance of other security features, such as employee logins and network access, is also possible. These options, on the other hand, will be configured from other devices and managed in the long run by a system administrator or IT department.
Connecting to your network, which is handled by access points, is one of the most important things your employees would want to do with it. Ethernet adapters, for example, are called access points because they allow any computer to connect to a network physically.
Any hardware that sends and receives data through your network’s various connected devices is referred to as an access point or AP. Devices can connect to your enterprise network wirelessly using a host bus or wireless adapter. Connecting to an AP is the same as connecting to any other wireless network, and employees will need the correct SSID and login credentials to use the device.
Network Security Considerations
As your company’s network expands, so does the possibility of a malicious attack. To put it another way, the more information you have, the more likely it is that someone would try to steal it. Security features are built into almost every device connected to your network, but how those security features are implemented is completely dependent on how they are handled internally.
In most cases, an enterprise-level network will have its own IT department devoted to making sure the network runs smoothly. A system administrator is required at the very least for an enterprise network to monitor and ensure that it functions properly.
Employees can work together remotely from multiple locations and function as if they were all in the same office with the proper use of an enterprise-grade network. However, setting up and maintaining them will necessitate a substantial amount of specialized equipment and staff. We hope that this enterprise network equipment checklist has provided you with a better understanding of the different components needed to build and maintain your network.
Keep in mind that even the best network is only as good as the IT department that manages it. Even if you only have one employee available, having someone dedicated to network maintenance is critical to running your business effectively.