If you’re starting a new office, designing a shopfront, or outfitting a brand new building, you will need to carefully consider how you’re going to set up your IT.  Staff and customers all rely on efficient wireless and wired connections to make purchases, transactions, browse, communicate across the business and outside of it, and handle security. It’s up to the business owner and the network administrator to design and build cabling, router points, and telephony that can scale and adapt to whatever the business demands day-to-day.

It might seem like a daunting task, particularly if you’re inexperienced with IT – which is why Staveley Comms are here to help. We can provide cabling, router, VoIP, and hardware installation as standard. Here’s our quick guide as to what you’ll need to consider before contacting us.

The Basics – Planning your Layout

What kind of space are you looking to outfit? What devices will connect to it? How many users will be in that space at once? If you’re looking to equip an open office sales space with telecoms and internal LAN (local area network) lines, you’ll need a much more intense and systematic IT scheme in place than a single phone line. It’s also worth considering integrating cost-effectiveness – could a third-party VoIP plan or virtual hosting and storage save your company space and money?

Alternatively – are your plans overengineered, relative to your IT needs? Installing a low-capacity centrally-administered hub to provide a wireless signal to passing customers and staff might work just as well as outfitting every booth and corner with a dedicated RJ45 connection.

If you’re renovating an older or remote space for modern technology, you should also keep in mind that you’ll have to factor in upgrades. Older, GPO-connected PSTN ports (pre-2001) may lack source filtering for more recent innovations such as ADSL (copper-line broadband) Internet connections or fibre optic connectivity.

Cabling

Every comms network needs some internal cabling to work – it’s a fact of life. Although it’s a much older way of sending signals, cabling is far from obsolete – LAN networks are still often faster and smoother, particularly in areas with high local electromagnetic traffic (such as shops). It’s also the only game in town for some high-bandwidth configurations (e.g. fibre optics). Cables are ideal for long-term, fixed position comms units, such as desktop PCs.

You’ll need to carefully plan out how lines are going to run safely and without intrusion from switch boxes, connections, computers, and hubs before you can install your comms. While contractors might be able to handle small DIY tasks (such as wall-clipping RJ45 cables), you’ll be better off hiring a specialist IT company to handle larger, more complex layouts that require extensive testing and configuration.

Switching

Once you’ve got your cables running, you’ll need to route them – using a switcher or router. For most small business networks, a four-port LAN unit isn’t good enough. You’ll need to work out where an autonomous, Power over Ethernet (PoE+) network switch will sit to connect up your local lines to your central servers and external connection. You may need more than one in place if you’re working across several departments or with a more complex network.

Wireless (Wi-Fi)

The next step is to pick out an excellent position for your Wi-Fi connection and booster points. Try to avoid enclosed spaces, thick walls, and obscure corners – a line of sight to the point is vital. WLAN connectivity allows users to add their own devices quickly to your LAN networks, accessing vital files and the internet via your tech. WLAN is highly flexible – with enough points, it can transmit to anywhere in the building for hot-desking and open working. It’s also worth considering security at this stage, however. Air gapping internal and external Wi-Fi access in retail spaces is vital to keep customer and staff permissions and use apart and secure.

IT Support from Staveley Comms

Once you’ve got your network up and running, you’ll want to keep it that way. You’ll need dedicated policies for what to do if a piece of equipment or cable breaks or decays, a software error emerges causing outages, or you need to install new devices to modernise or expand your IT capability.

At Staveley Comms, we can help – via remote, cloud technology. Our remote helpdesk and configuration scheme can provide outsourced, targeted, specialised tech support without the need for expensive, dedicated on-site teams. We also run VoIP SIP Trunking remotely – ideal for monitoring your phone networks and keeping them running smoothly at a much lower cost than traditional ISDN configurations. Call or email today to find out more.

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