In a basic office environment, there are a few constants in regards to infrastructure and how a computer network may be set up. Initially, an office may have a computer for each employee, or simply one computer depending on the type of business. This can be expanded to all sorts of implementations, including different server systems and remote access, node type setups and completely centralized data access and email solutions.
Depending on the needs of the business, the best ways to expand or link up separate workstations differ. An office may need Ethernet cables ran through the walls, a server room, or a combined wireless solution to bring the computers, printers and other devices together.
When a network infrastructure is built into a work space from the onset, the office can benefit from the fastest and most reliable hard wired network. These network cables remain useful for years, and sometimes indefinitely. The only bottleneck is faster and heavier data rates that come to use with the advancement of other technologies and newer types of files (as well as the desire for more network speed). If a hardwired network is not available, a centralized wireless internet and intranet solution is the next step.
Different network devices are available these days that can amplify and repeat a wireless signal, therefore connecting the entire square area of a building. Wireless printers can also be connected to these networks, minimizing cables and installation time, but at the risk of slightly less reliable operation. Wireless signals are prone to interference and static buildup.
After a certain point of growth, an office or business will need a certain level of data flexibility and access performance that straightforward intranet cannot accomplish alone. The next developments include exchange server applications for email, and either cloud or local based domain and VPN servers. With proper configuration, a VPN (virtual private network) can assist in streamlining multiple domain computers.
Furthermore, a computer can be configured as a domain access node alone, ensuring no files are simply stored on the end user machine, but in a centralized server environment. This helps with data security, multiple user immediate access, and general organization of the IT tree.
These servers can also be used in conjunction with on site web hosting and DNS relaying to provide an all encompassing, rapid, and secure work environment for any number of employees. These systems all talk to each other, from email to file sharing, and in the end simplify the IT infrastructure of a business.
Cloud Services and Data Backup
Eventually, with the onset of cloud services, an office may only make do with an onsite backup of the important data, and subsequently outsource the remaining needs to services, such as Google Skydrive and Productivity suites, in order to alleviate on site maintenance costs and the inevitable need to upgrade the “wires” in a building to stay current.
The Future is Fluid
Computers will be replaced with tablets and phones, and the search for the fastest, cheapest and strongest IT solutions will progress. An interesting paradigm shift is upon us, whereas businesses will have to learn to cope with software implementation more so than hardware.