Q: Should I set up a wired or wireless network for my small or home office?

Tech Q & A
– Submitted by Dr. Clinton Frye, Frye Chiropractic & Laser Center

A: In any particular real-world situation, many factors will weigh into this decision. But for sake of simplicity, let’s assume that you could feasibly do either a wired or wireless network. When set up properly, either a wired or wireless network should perform well for the majority of things that most people do on a network, especially when using the Internet. So really there’s no reason you couldn’t do both. However, if you are using a particular software to run your business, you should check with the developer of that application to see if they support the use of a wireless network.

Many programs, especially those that had their roots before wireless networks, depend on a very reliable network to work well. While wireless technology can be very reliable, wireless networks can suffer from interference. This interference can cause varying interruptions in network service. Most of the time, a user may never notice. However, particularly sensitive applications may not work well even with very minor interruptions. Again, you must consult your software’s developer to verify their recommendations. Ideally, you should do this before you purchase the software.

In some situations, wireless networking is a critical necessity. If this is your situation, you should seek out software that was designed to work over less reliable connections. The good news is that more and more developers are realizing that they need to design their software to work over “unreliable” networks such as the Internet. As they design their software to do this, the ability to use wireless networks for business software improves. As well, wireless technology continues to evolve. Newer devices are much better at managing interference and preventing network interruptions.

With all that being said, however, if it is feasible to wire your business, I suggest you do so, especially if you are starting a new business or moving to a new space. It is much easier to pre-wire a building during build-out or construction than to wait until you’ve moved in. By having your business wired, you have the flexibility to implement a wired network if desired. As the speed of wired networks improve, your business may one day need to take advantage of faster networking speeds. One tip: make sure you wire using “Category 6” cabling. This newer type of cabling (as compared to Category 5 or 5e) supports Gigabit Ethernet, which is up to 10 times as fast as the most common type of network today. Already, many new computers come with Gigabit networking built-in, so Gigabit networks may become more common sooner than later.

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