What is a Computer Network?
A computer network is a system of multiple devices which are linked together physically and can communicate with each other. Networks are the foundational principle of the internet and can be wired, wireless or, commonly, a combination of the two. Utilizing best practices in your network configuration will lead to higher network bandwidth, increased network security and better stability.
What is Network Configuration?
Network Configuration is the process of connecting your network-capable devices together and provisioning them to access the network’s resources. In essence, it is the infrastructure for the proper transmission of data within a network. Proper configuration is a vital component of managing your business’ computer networks.
Network configuration can either be localized or involve a collection of nodes that are found in multiple geographical locations. For this article, we will be focusing on localized configuration.
The Basics of Network Configuration
Assigning IP addresses, routes, and firewall rules to connected devices are the main elements of configuring your business network. The features that normally need to be configured are:
- Modem/Router: The modem is the gateway from your local network to the internet. A router houses the logic for your business network’s IP addresses and data transmission protocols. Many modern modems have the capability to also act as a router.
- Host: A host is any device that is connected and configured to use the network.
- Software & Hardware: Properly arranged software and hardware allows for efficient retrieval and storage of data. The hardware acts as the framework and physical capability that shapes the overall structure of your business network. Once installed onto a device and given access to the network, software applications initiate data transmission that is vital for business operations.
- Port: A port is a physical access inlet on a device’s network card. These can be opened or closed to accepting traffic. They range from 0-65536
- Firewall: A firewall prevents unauthorized access to a device. It is the opening and closing of various ports to, reject, permit, or filter traffic. Firewalls are usually present on or near the modem (depending on your configuration) and on hosts in your business computer network.
- Network Topology: Refers to the logical structure, or map, of your network. The topology describes how communication occurs across a single or multiple networks. The right topology for a business is dependent on network size, performance requirements, and application. Fortunately, the network topologies required for operating a small business are fairly straightforward.
There are a series of best practices when it comes to configuring your internal network. Please note that these are geared towards a typical small business with a focus on ease. You will want to:
- Establish a firewall that will prevent malicious traffic from entering. Fortunately, most routers have some form of firewall by default.
- Configure your router to provide IP addresses via DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol). This is usually enabled by default.
- Configure your devices to automatically provision via DHCP
- If you must provide internet or network access to guests, you should segregate the traffic by creating a new subnet for their devices to operate on. A subnet (sub-network) is a logical separation on your network map. This way you can protect your sensitive devices from unauthorized users.
Tip: Automating your configuration process allows for reduced IT workload in the long run. It also simplifies maintenance and data retrieval within a business network. If you require expert assistance with configuring your business network, consider Antemodal as your network management provider. Contact us today!