Three Upgrades for Your SMB in 2013

Paul Mah

There is no denying that IT is a field that is constantly evolving and changing. While there is certainly no need for SMBs to be pushing the cutting edge when it comes to their infrastructure, being a laggard certainly won’t do the business a favor, either.

As you gear up to start a brand-new year ahead, below is a simple checklist that outlines three key components of IT infrastructure. A quick read should serve as a quick evaluation of where you stand — and help you decide if an upgrade is necessary.

Wi-Fi Network

What type of wireless network do you deploy in your small and mid-sized business? 802.11g is so yesteryear, while 802.11b is flat-out obsolete. The minimal acceptable standard today is probably 802.11n operating at 300Mbps, preferably with access points (APs) that are capable of simultaneously operating on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands.

And if you’re thinking of making an upgrade, do make sure that you deploy business-grade APs due to the more stringent standards that they are designed to accommodate. Do check out “Upgrading Your Wi-Fi Network to 802.11n for more information on this front.

Gigabit Ethernet

SMBs that have been in business for more than three years will in all likelihood still be running a Fast Ethernet network, and may want to consider upgrading to a Gigabit Ethernet network. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with Fast Ethernet, which at 100Mbps is plenty fast for activities such as browsing and accessing Web services.

When it comes to copying large files across the network though, you will find that Gigabit Ethernet is far more suited for the multi-gigabyte files that users are generating today. And if you’re setting up a wired network from scratch today, don’t even think of anything slower than Gigabit Ethernet.

File Servers

File servers started off as servers packed with lots of storage drives, before evolving into dedicated servers packing specialized software designed for sharing files on the local area network (LAN). Those were pricey affairs though, costing many thousands of dollars for relatively meager amounts of storage.

However, increasing computing capabilities means that a small business 5-bay Network Attached Storage (NAS) today probably packs far more processing oomph and storage capability than that five-year-old file server on its last legs. As such, it may make sense to replace existing file servers with an NAS appliance. For more tips on selecting a suitable NAS, do check out “Adopting a NAS Strategy for Your SMB.”

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