Small business network management: just another job or an exciting career? Managing a small business network can be tough work, but it is a fun and exciting career, than provides endless opportunities for learning new technologies and ideas. Although this is a good career choice, there are many times where this job can be frustrating and tough. The frustrating times come when mission critical equipment fails, or a configuration file gets corrupted. First I will talk about the equipment needed to make a small business network function, with minimal errors. Next I will explain the pros and cons to managing a small business network. Lastly I will talk about what I recommend for a small business ...view middle of the document...
If you had seven computers, and only one had a printer which you wanted to share, you would buy a switch to connect all the computers. There is also a combination of the two; a router with switching capabilities. This is the best of both devices. It may be more expensive, but it is definitely worth it. With this device, you only need one IP address because the router hides the computers from the outside world, remember all the doors it locked? The router will give all the computers its own IP address, called private IP address. You can have up to 254 devices plugged into a router with switching capabilities.
The next hardware category is servers. There are many styles and looks to servers, whether it be a desktop or rack mount, blue or orange lights; they all do the same essential thing. What kind of server does a small business need? For small business, fewer than 50 employees, I would recommend an "Office Server". Have no
fear; I will explain to you what an "office server" is. The office server we have in my office runs Microsoft Windows Server 2003. All the workstations in the office are connected to the server, and everyone's documents, mail, desktops, start menu's and everything else they work on are stored on this server, automatically. This server is also backed-up every night, so there is little chance of losing something. This isn't the only type of server, some businesses have their own mail server, or web server which hosts their web page, or maybe even an eCommerce server, which people can buy their products from. The easiest and most overall solution is going to be the "office server".
Workstations come next in our hardware lineup. Workstation are what all the employees work on. My office has multiple levels of workstations, because not every employee has the same job description. The customer service representatives have generic, entry level workstations because their computers don't need to handle any heavy loads, and they cost around $1500. On the other end of the spectrum, our marketing computer needs to handle big programs, like Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Premier Pro. These programs need a vast amount of resources, so obviously the CSR computers wouldn't work for that. The marketing computer cost around $4000. Depending on what your company does, or needs, will correlate to what type and robustness of workstations
The last topic, Internet access devices can be tricky to decide on. There are a lot of ways to connect to the internet. Depending on what your business needs will relate to what type of connection you should get. The company I work for is an Internet Service Provider, so we have a fiber optic connection to the internet, which handles all our internet users. Most of our small business customers have a cable modem, which provides them with 6-8 Meg of bandwidth. As a comparison, Comcast has a business class service that gets around 6 Meg download, which is plenty for a small business. 6 Meg download speed...