Infrastructure is the backbone of any network. After the wires are run and terminated – it’s time to consider the back-haul equipment that will run your network. Beyond the equipment is the physical installation and configuration that will keep your network running smoothly and make troubleshooting simple.
You’ll want to avoid as many single-point failures as your budget allows. Can your business operate without an internet connection, what about without phones? For how long? These are the terms you should be thinking in when making decision like if another WAN (internet) connection is necessary or if buying equipment with built-in redundancy makes sense.
We also like to make sure our installations are strait-forward, heavily documented and look like a million bucks. Your network infrastructure should be considered a valuable asset to your home or business.
Common types of network infrastructure are:
- Router – Decides what traffic goes where.
- Switch – Turns single internet source into many.
- Wireless Access Point – Turns wired connectivity into wireless.
- Network Key – Device that runs network management software.
- Network Attached Storage – Stores large amounts of data usually with many hard drives.
- Network Video Recorder – Stores video surveillance footage.
- Server – Stores data, holds configuration, handles authentication.
I already have a router from my ISP, can I just use that?
Router/Modem combo units can be great for simple home networks that require little to no configuration. Some of them even broadcast WiFi. However, such routers provide little to no protection from the outside world, and even less in terms of configuration options. Any “real” network is going to need a dedicated router to handle the firewall, port forwarding, and QOS. Most combo units can be converted into “bridge” mode to allow the use of a dedicated router.
What is PoE?
PoE (Power Over Ethernet) is a method of transmitting power over the category-type hard-lines already installed. PoE can currently provide ~24v to devices that are designed to utilize the standardized PoW protocol. Power can be supplied to low-current devices throughout the home or business without the need to run additional MAINS (electrical) wiring to that location. This is a huge time and money saver.
Some types of PoE devices are:
- Surveillance Cameras
- WiFi Access Points
- Access Controllers
- IoT Devices
Does my network closet need to be ventilated?
Yes! Equipment is going to generate heat so it is recommended that the room or area be vented in some way. Depending on the amount of equipment it may be necessary to add a powered fan to help circulate air – or in extreme circumstances a separate mini-split type Air Conditioning unit.
How can I improve my WiFi Signal?
Most WiFi AP’s broadcast an omni-directional signal (in all directions equally). The easiest way to increase your signal is to re-locate the Wireless AP to a central location in the structure. If additional access points are required, they should be evenly spaced apart and operate on different channels to avoid interference with each other.