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What is a Local Area Network (LAN)?

October 11, 2011

Small businesses have come a long way since the floppy disks, which were at one time the only way to share files within a company.

As we become more reliant on computers, e-mail, and the Internet to do our jobs, local area networks (LAN’s) have become an essential resource for growing businesses – whether they’re based in a home office or a City skyscraper.

Here are a few points to help you get the basics on wiring up your small business.

Internet

The Internet is the driver for today’s businesses and should be the first thing you consider when setting up your Local Area Network. Tackle this crucial aspect early as your network will be up and running by the time your line gets activated.

Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) offer a host of access technologies – including DSL (digital subscriber line) and Cable services.

Large businesses will benefit from a dedicated T1/E1 or faster links to hook up to the internet or to connect to multiple branch offices.

What is a Local Area Network (LAN)?

Essentially, a Local Area Network is a computer network which connects devices, typically in a small area, such as a single building or office.

A LAN will connect several PCs together, and also enable users to share other equipment such as laser printers. A LAN will also enable your employees to share applications, files, databases and Internet connections.

The right kind of network for your business

If you run a business with only a few workstations, then you may be tempted to setup a less expensive peer-to-peer (P2P) network employing a simple unmanaged switch which is connected to all the client computers which have a network interface cards (NIC) installed.

As your business grows, however, it may become difficult for employees to keep track of their own work if your PCs have multiple users.

In this case, a central document repository is essential, where all users access a single computer (server) where all their documents are stored.

This server should be regularly backed-up to protect any sensitive data.

Help installing a Local Area Network

If you don’t have the in-house expertise to install a LAN for your business, you might be better off hiring a technical expert to implement the right solution for your company.

As well as the initial installation (which shouldn’t take that long), you should also ensure can get help if anything goes wrong – ask about ongoing support options.

Further Information

This article was written with help from Kimson Solutions, London’s leading supplier of Maintenance Architecture. Contact them on 0203 031 9502 or info@kimsonsolutions.com