When you run a small business, looking after many things become a prerequisite. Irrespective of the sector of your company, it becomes necessary to get an internet connection. Even for a small office, you need to have a robust internet setup.
Landline and Ethernet based wired connections are outdated. More or less every company opts for wireless internet connection nowadays. With falling prices of wireless devices and networking products, setting up wireless internet setup at small office is not costly anymore. For this, you will need to select a suitable wireless router device.
Ways to select the ideal wireless router for small business setups
Given the abundance of models available in the market, choosing the right wireless router can be a tedious task for the small business owners. Cost is not the only parameter since PC hardware prices have fallen in the last few years significantly.
However, you need to think of other vital factors like your network size, bandwidth, security and upgradability etc.
Below listed are the major factors that you should think of when picking a wireless router for your small business setup:
Features and usage pattern
– You will find wireless routers that allow a few PCs to be connected at a time and also high end models that come with various security features and support for several dozen PCs. However, based on your usage pattern and access needs, you should buy a router. Analyze if you really will need to use advanced data protection or remote access features found in top notch and costlier models.
Type of connectivity
– Routers can be equipped with both wired and wireless connectivity features nowadays. Figure out what type suits your workspace web access needs more. If the office is small and there are only a few desktop PCs, using a router that supports wired access makes sense. However, for fast growing businesses, using a router that supports both types of access makes sense. Check out how many Ethernet slots are there in the router.
Single WAN or Dual-WAN
– Most entry level wireless routers have a single WAN port which serves as the main gateway for your office intranet to the World Wide Web. However, depending on a router with a single port for connecting to the web can be risky at times. If the port develops snags for some reason, none of the network PCs can access the web. So, it makes sense to opt for a router model that features two WAN ports. This is especially important if you own a business that is in expansion mode and online coactivity round the clock is crucial for business operations.
Distribution of bandwidth and web access
– When you buy and start using awirelessrouterin theworkspace, the number of PCs accessing the device and web are limited. However, this changes with time. When more usersaccess the web through the same router, it becomesnecessary to distribute and synchronize bandwidth. Some routers are equipped with a feature called WDS or Wireless Distribution System. Using the routers it becomes easier to set up VPNs inside the office. This lets owners segregate traffic at the workplace as per their needs.
– When you have a number of employees working and accessing the web in a wireless setup at workplace, security cannot be overlooked. You can buy routers with inbuilt encryption technology if security at workplace is a prime concern. In some of the costlier routers, you can also find hardware based firewall to filter web access. These models are effective when you want to get protection from various network attacks and hacking exploits. Ideally, you can stay on the safe side by buying a router that featuresWPA2 Security protocol.
– The speed at which a wireless router can distribute data in the LAN in office can vary from one model to another. Often referred as throughput- this plays a role in the speed of web access in office computers. The routers have varying amounts of Flash memory and RAM. Most routers nowadays support fast Wireless-N technology (802.11n) technology.
– You may want to set restrictive web access for employees in your small business setup. Honestly, no company owners want employees idling by checking their Facebook accounts when the seniors are not around! Besides, giving employees full access to web also enhances the risk of malware download. To ensure employees at your business cannot access just any website, you will need a router with inbuilt content filtering features. Network administrators can further tweak the settings post installation of routers too.
Guest Wireless Network
– This may not seem an important feature, but in the long run it saves you from hassles. If a guest or client wants temporary access to your office network, this feature can prove to be bliss. It spares you from revealing the main network password to guests yet they can access the network in a limited capacity.