Office network performance is a crucial subject for businesses today. With the network being the lifeline to all of your company’s files and printers, anything less than optimum performance can be crippling to daily operations. Here are eight tips you can use to help build and maintain a smooth-running network:
1. Manage Remote Access Users Properly
Remote access users should only require dial-up access for functions that require it (i.e., VPN). If employees need to send or receive emails while outside of the office, they should do so using IMAP, POP3, or webmail rather than dialing in through their connections software (or get one set up if needed). It takes limited bandwidth away from other company needs and opens up opportunities for hackers to steal your users’ information.
2. Get Rid of Unnecessary Packages
Many office servers are set up with unnecessary packages that can cause performance issues, including databases and groupware suites. While this may have been vital at the inception of the network, many times, it is no longer needed as data is moved to other platforms. This practice can also make finding remote access points difficult for employees without experience in configuring these software titles.
3. Prevent Head-of-Line Blocking
A common issue some networks face is head-of-line blocking, which occurs when one task stops others from being able to send their data across the network until it finishes processing first. One example of this is on a web server that has several users downloading large files at once. Any time one of the downloads fails or is incomplete, it causes the others to stop their downloads until they too recover.
4. Keep Your Firewall Intact
This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s very important that your firewall not be turned off or disabled in any way. Hackers often find their way into networks through open ports, so if you turn your firewall off, you’re essentially allowing anyone else on the network to come right in. If you don’t have a firewall set up yet, consider purchasing one with packet-filtering capabilities to lock down all incoming traffic and only allow specific connections for authorized users.
5. Get the Network Tested
Many times, users themselves don’t even know they are affecting the network by their actions. For example, if someone is downloading large files on their work computer, it’s possible that the bottleneck of the download could be occurring at their machine. Get network performance testing done to identify weaknesses and areas for improvement; you’re never going to know where these bottlenecks are occurring or how best to fix them.
6. Ensure Enough Bandwidth Is Available
It’s critical that there is enough bandwidth available for everyone who needs it on your office network. If there isn’t, you can bet somebody will complain about something not working faster or being prevented from doing their job properly due to lack of access. An easy way to check the bandwidth is to use a program that lets you monitor upload and download speeds. The minimum bandwidth needed for your network should be determined by the largest file size users will upload or download at once.
7. Choose Your Network Hardware Wisely
When it comes to your office network, nothing but high-quality components should be purchased. This doesn’t mean you need to dole out all of your corporate pocket change on them either; many times, open-source hardware can perform just as well as proprietary software even if they cost less — although they may lack some bells and whistles. Ensure that all hardware has been thoroughly tested and proven to work without troubleshooting before being added into the office network environment.
8. Upgrade as Needed
No matter how small your office network may be, it is going to experience slowdowns at some point. When they do happen, make sure the issue can be corrected right away without too much hassle. In some cases, you will need to go as far as completely upgrading the network hardware and software to ensure that future performance bottlenecks are prevented or eliminated from occurring. While this isn’t always easy or exactly cost-effective, it’s better for everyone in the long run if you can fix problems before they become too big of an issue.
The network is everything in an office setting. Without access to a fast and reliable network, employees are unable to do their jobs effectively since they can’t send or receive files from remote locations easily. This means that the speed at which your company’s website loads, how quickly you can print documents, etc., will all be impacted by the quality of your office’s internet connection. To help ensure maximum performance for everyone on our team, here are eight tips we recommend implementing into your own business strategy.