Wi-Fi gives us the amazing freedom to work from nearly anywhere! But setting up a network can be quite a challenge, and if you do it wrong, you could put your entire organization at risk from hackers (who live with their mom and spend all day figuring out how to make our lives more difficult).
Below we have a basic guide on how to set up a Wi-Fi network and some steps to follow to make it happen.
Define your Needs
You need to ask yourself some questions to find out what you’re really trying to accomplish.
- Who needs access to your Wi-Fi?
- Will you still have hard lines?
- Does your Wi-Fi connect to your network?
- Do you have guests or customers who need to access it?
- What usage agreement do you need to have in place?
- Will you have time-limits for guests?
- Does your signal need to go outside for a courtyard or outdoor seating?
- How much Ethernet cable do you think you’ll need?
- Do you share the password with your employees, or do you have someone set up their computer?
- Will your Wi-Fi have hours of operation?
Setup a Standard Operating Procedure
It’s important that you set up the rules for your Wi-Fi. Even if you are a small operation, write down who you think should be able to make changes and who should be able to access it. Basically, write down the answers after you have decided on your needs. We would recommend that all mobile devices connect to the Guest Network, unless you can own them and have proper security features installed.
Write down who will be the Wi-Fi network administrators and set a location to securely store the passwords you will set up.
- Do you want to limit the connections to specified computers?
- Will you change the password whenever an employee leaves (if you share the password)?
- Who will be contacted regarding connectivity issues?
Purchase the Right Equipment
This step is incredibly important, your Wi-Fi access point should have modern security features, and you will need enough access points to get signal throughout your workspace, but you don’t want to overdo it so loiterers can see your network a mile away. You will most likely also want to have a second access point in your office for your guests.
Set up the Equipment
Place the Equipment
Place the access points throughout your area where you are wanting access. Be aware of any obstructions that may prevent the signal from sufficiently traveling (heaters, duct work, walls, etc.).
Set up Security
Make sure you are using WPA2. Use a password that is 12 characters or longer and includes uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t worry about making it easy to remember, it shouldn’t be. This should be something that’s only accessed when new computers are purchased, so make it complex so hackers can’t easily guess it or use a program to hack it (See post on passwords).
You will also want to change the admin password and user name on the router or controller. Routers typically have easy-to-guess passwords pre-installed, or none at all. Any millennial you hire will likely be tempted to mess with your settings.
Test your Connectivity
Once you have set up the security. Walk throughout your space and make sure that your Wi-Fi is working with sufficient strength. You will also want to test your guest access and any special parameters you’ve set up.
Evaluate and change
As your business grows, plan to re-evaluate your Wi-Fi network to make sure it’s keeping pace. You may need to buy better routers as your number of devices grows.