The world seemed to come to a halt in 2020, but that’s hardly the case for small businesses. Last year alone, 4.4 new businesses were created according to the US Census Bureau.

If you’re part of this number, congratulations! Starting a new venture isn’t easy, and keeping it afloat is even harder. But don’t worry, that’s why I’m here.

Setting up a computer network for your small business is a professional business strategy that many people don’t use until it’s too late. But that won’t be you. Let’s jump right into how you can establish this business network today!

Decide on a Type of Computer Network

The first thing you’ll want to do is pinpoint what kind of network you need. From smallest to largest, there are PANs, LANs, MANs, and WANs. No, these aren’t Teletubby characters.

PANs are Personal Area Networks. This would be ideal for someone working from home who only has one employee: themselves.

LANs are Local Area Networks, perfect for a slightly larger small business. You may need to explore a LAN if you have two or three employees with one shared internet connection.

MANs are Metropolitan Area Networks. This network will cover a whole town or city. MANs are great for offices with multiple levels or more than just a few computers.

Finally, WANs are Wide Area Networks that cover an entire region (ie, the internet itself).

For the sake of this guide, I’ll be focusing more on PANs and LANs because those are what you’ll be utilizing the most with a small business.

Gather Equipment

There are some core pieces of equipment that every type of network will need. Larger networks simply include higher quantities of the same pieces.

Really quickly before we begin, it’s important to remember that you can hire IT professionals who specialize in managed IT services. You can click this link to learn more about what is included, but I promise it’ll make your life as a business owner MUCH simpler.

To set up your network, you’ll want to secure a modem. This device is what allows your computers to connect to the internet. Grab a router as well. This is a very similar device, but it is what transfers the data to the internet.

Next, make sure you have an adequate firewall. Don’t be fooled by the majority of computers or hardware that boast an included firewall, it’s still vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

A switch is an important tool for office networks because it allows all of your devices to connect and share data. With a switch, you can connect your computers, laptops, scanners, printers, etc.

Finally, you’ll need some LAN cables to secure a seamless and speedy connection to your wifi or internet.

Finalizing Your Network

There you have it! These are the basic elements of any computer network and the info you need to decide which network is right for you.

Of course, this is a simplified how-to guide. For more in-depth information, check out the other articles on our site. You’ll find great tips for your small business and some life-changing hacks!