Are you tripping over cords all over your office? Are your peripheral cords so tangled there is no hope of separating them? If you answered yes to either of these questions, it may be time to go wireless.
It has never been easier to implement wireless technology. Most devices are now plug-and-play, which means you won’t need an advanced technical degree to go wireless. All you will need to do is figure out how many gateways you’ll need and then purchase some basic equipment.
One wireless gateway or router can support up to 25 computers. This should be more than enough for a small business office. If you plan on adding more computers to your office, you can simply add on in the future or purchase an extra gateway in advance. Be sure to read Risks to Your Data on Wireless Netwoks.
You’ll also have to make sure that your existing computers will support Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity networking. Most current computers come equipped with this function. If you have an older computer or laptop, you should be able to insert a PCI or PCMCIA networking card to take advantage of Wi-Fi capabilities.
Once you have purchased your gateway, place it in a centralized location in your office. The normal range for a gateway in an office environment is 75 to 100 feet. The farther your computer is from the gateway the more you’ll notice something called “gradual degradation.” This means that the speed of your network will not be as fast in computers located farthest from the gateway.
If you have DSL, broadband, or satellite Internet access, you can connect this to your gateway device. This will allow all your computers on the network to share a single Internet connection. Read more on wireless Internet access planning.
After you have set this up, your new wireless network will be ready to use. If you want to add a printer to your network, you can either purchase a network-enabled printer that connects by Ethernet cable or a Wi-Fi-capable printer. Once they’re on your network, all your computers will be able to share a single printer.
A note of caution: Certain cordless phones operate on the same frequency (2.4GHz) as Wi-Fi gateways. This can cause interference and result in a slower connection. Microwaves also share this frequency and can cause the same problems.
If you’re not quite ready to move up to a wireless network, there are still ways you can take advantage of wireless technology. If your computer is equipped with an infrared device, you can add a wireless keyboard, mouse, and printer and be free of corded devices.