Building out the network at a new office is a detailed process. Making it a smooth experience requires careful planning and a strong understanding of the requirements. Whether you’re moving your home base or adding a new office, we’ll walk you through everything you need to build an enterprise network from scratch.

Network Build Checklist

First up is a list of the components required for a small office network design project.

IT Team Involvement

Get your IT team’s input from the start. They know what the business will need and can help guide decision-making. Take the finance industry, for example. It has robust security needs, and the IT team should know how best to incorporate these into the new setup.

Internet and Phone Services

Confirm your access to suitable internet and phone services. If you get to an office and find out you can barely make phone calls, it’s going to be an issue. Check your address with your phone and internet providers. If you don’t have an address established yet, check nearby addresses on all sides of the building. If you have coverage, run a speed test to determine performance.

Existing Infrastructure Assessment

If you’re occupying an existing building, walk through it and assess how the structure will affect your networks. Moving an accounting firm into a building that used to be a restaurant will call for some creative reworking. Note factors like:

  • Where walls will affect Wi-Fi
  • If security is sufficient
  • How your setup plans will affect access points
  • What additional equipment may be needed to relocate wiring

You’ll also want to conduct full line testing to certify and label all network outlets. Full line testing offers more information than other methods by checking line resistance, circuit health, and packet loss.

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The hardware list necessary for a network will vary by business. Some of the equipment you’ll probably need includes:

  • Modem
  • Router
  • Firewall
  • Switch
  • Local area network (LAN) cable or patch cable
  • Access points
  • Repeater
  • Patch panel

These components must be chosen with business needs in mind. For example, a router meant for a home office generally won’t support the number of devices required in a business environment.

Wiring Plan

The new office’s layout will dictate the layout of your wiring. Consider creating an office network setup diagram. Plans may change as you remodel and build, but you’ll still want a rough idea of wiring needs and organization. These will help during bid requests, too.

Plan on adding two data lines at each workstation. Factor in other on-network requirements like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, printers, Wi-Fi access points, and cellphones.

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Wi-Fi Placement Plan

Office layouts will affect Wi-Fi performance, as well. If the signal has to move through too many walls or deal with interference, it will be weaker. Optimize your Wi-Fi connection to offer faster, more reliable coverage across the entire office. You may need to add access points or strategically move routers. Wi-Fi mapping software can be a useful tool.

Financial firms, for example, often have individual offices for advisors and other employees. Routers and access points need to be placed where they can penetrate the office walls and provide connection within the rooms.

Updates for Architects

If remodeling or building, keep your architects, contractors, and engineers informed. As you learn more about your IT requirements, factors like conduit requirements or new line installations will impact their work.

Future Plans

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Planning ahead for business growth can help you save and be flexible. Buying a switch with extra ethernet ports, for instance, allows you to add on devices when necessary.

Be careful not to leave too much room for expansion, however, because your hardware will eventually need replacing. Try to account for predicted growth within the next five years. You can then accommodate growth without spending more than necessary on devices that will need to be replaced within the next few years.

Steps to Completing an Effective Network Infrastructure Build-Out at a New Office

With all of those components in mind, let’s look at the steps for creating a small office network setup with servers and other necessary equipment.

1. Consider Business Needs

Your company’s unique needs will determine how you approach many different aspects of the network. Map out your expectations for the office landscape, such as:

  • Number and type of devices
  • Number of workstations
  • Type of applications and software workers will use
  • Types and sizes of files commonly shared
  • Security requirements

2. Select Hardware Components

Use the information you outlined in the last step and your IT team’s input to select your hardware. Remember to balance the different factors involved. If you’re not well-versed in buying hardware, consider hiring a professional service provider to help.

3. Choose Your Office Network Type

Office networks typically use one of three types of networks. These include:

  • Wired: Wired networks use physical connections and require an ethernet cable for each device. They are usually faster and more reliable but will require access to the workstations. Out-of-office setups will be more difficult to arrange, and the cables can get messy in an office space.
  • Wireless: Wireless networks run on Wi-Fi. You can do away with messy cables but will have to ensure appropriate coverage throughout the building, which may include more access points and clever placement.
  • Hybrid: A hybrid network gets the best of both worlds. Workers can take advantage of reliable speed when necessary, such as sending large files or working during prime internet traffic hours. They can also move around freely, and remote work is easier to organize.
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4. Determine Wireless Needs

Wireless network demands will vary between offices. Outline where your small business network setup stands in terms of:

  • Guest network requirements
  • IoT devices
  • Bandwidth requirements
  • Potential traffic congestion from neighbors
  • Number of devices
  • Coverage and access points
  • Security requirements

5. Seek Expert Assistance

Setting up a small business network design can seem daunting. The many aspects involved require strong IT skills, and creating the right network setup plays a large role in the future of the office and your budget. Many businesses find working with professionals pays for itself through improvements in network speed, reliability, and performance.

Choosing the Best Network Security Provider

Network security is a complex topic, especially in heavily regulated industries like healthcare and finance. After you’ve set up the network, keeping it secure requires ongoing monitoring.

A network security provider offers ongoing cybersecurity for your business. Choosing this provider is an important part of setting your network up for success. Be sure to choose someone with a long history of success, advanced tech on their side, and a transparent approach.

Here at Agio, we have all three. We can help you with everything from buying hardware to creating a proposal so you can design a new local area network system.

Ask the Network Experts at Agio

Our experienced team of IT and networking professionals take a proactive approach to security. We monitor, analyze, and manage network connectivity and hardware in real time for the best possible performance.

Let us fix network problems before they appear and minimize the chances of blackouts or brownouts. In addition to optimizing your network, we can help with setting it up in the first place and creating the ideal solution for your company’s unique needs.

Have questions about your network or network security? Reach out to the pros to learn more.

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