Compact Networks - How to accommodate limited space
Creating a network in your business is important. And, regardless of the number of employees you have or the space available on your premises, you’ll want to ensure that you invest wisely to get the most out of this. Large corporations are often afforded separate rooms in which to set up complex networks consisting of hundreds of racks, wall cabinets and shelves. This simply isn’t feasible in smaller buildings. However, this doesn’t mean you need to compromise on achievable speeds or attempt to communicate, share and network in another way. A fully working and effective network can be built, even in compact environments.
Assess your requirements
The best place to start when designing any network is having a clear understanding of your requirements. A smaller premises may be indicative of a smaller team. Therefore, the number of devices that need to connect to a network may be limited. You may only need one printer between a team of 20 where larger groups of 100+ will require more equipment. Equally, you may only have a limited number of colleagues that need to access the network at any given time and, therefore, the bandwidth doesn’t have to be excessive. The main factors to consider when understanding your requirements are:
- Size - How many users will need access to the network? Will they all be on the premises and online at the same time for the majority of the working day? Or do your employees desk-hop or share jobs which will relieve the demand on the network. Understanding the capacity will help you to determine your data storage needs and then identify the right modern technology to accommodate this.
- Connectivity - Consider the types of external connections available. Do all colleagues need internet access and does this need to be constantly flowing to support your business model? Do you need to establish a VPN service to protect sensitive information?
- Design - This is where you take into account the physical components that will complete your network. This includes everything from cables through to racks, shelving units and wall cabinets. Once you understand the number of devices that need to be linked and the number of cables this equates to, you’ll be better placed to configure a physical set-up that suits your compact space.
Physical design for compact spaces
Generally, working with an experienced cable management company will ensure you get the most out of your smaller network. While it may seem simple to plug in a couple of wires and link everything up, you need to consider factors such as overheating, excessive power consumption and signal interference. Tips from our expert team here at Adept Network include:
Plan your organisation in advance
This should be a priority in your cable network design. Knowing where your cables will be routed before the actual installation process ensures you’ll only have to set everything up once. Make a note of where cables will be entering and exiting your network, what cabinets or racks you may need and how these can be incorporated together for the best result.
Measure the connection distance
With this, you’ll be able to understand the physical distance that you need to accommodate for with your cabling. Another key thing to note here is it’s not always the most obvious solution that best fits your needs. This is where it pays to have some back knowledge and experience. The most straightforward set up may actually result in excessive cable lengths and bulkiness which leads to overheating and an untidy environment.
Prioritise vertical and horizontal cable management bars
These custom-made components are designed to help direct cables towards the desired devices. If you’re working with limited space, you want to ensure everything has its place and stays fixed in its spot to minimise the risk of damage. Both vertical and horizontal cable management bars will help you do this. With these, you can attach additional mounting components, such as power strips and cable ducts. If you choose one with a cover, you’ll also be able to cover up any unsightly set-ups and keep your smaller office on-brand.
Route your cables through the rack sides
In doing so, you’ll have a uniformed way of identifying which cable is needed for a specific purpose. You can also create a structured process to your organisation and ensure it remains aesthetically pleasing on the eyes. All of the cables used within your network need to be stored appropriately with the freedom to access them as needed.
Use telescopic shelves for frequently accessed items
Designed to work within racks, telescopic shelves allow you to easily access certain devices without disrupting the rest of the network. They are available in a multitude of dimensions to suit your needs and are fully vented to reduce overheating.
Choose cables designed for small environments
As we mentioned above, having a small networking space isn’t uncommon for modern businesses. This is why many manufacturers have begun developing cables and other networking essentials to suit this need. An example of this is our Cat.5e Straight to Right Angle UP Cable. Here, one connection end is straight for use in the device and the other has been twisted to an angle. This allows it to be used in the smallest environments without putting added straight to the internal cable or risking a drop in connectivity.
Work with a professional
One of the best pieces of advice we could give you when it comes to organising a network in a particularly challenging environment is to work with experts. Many cable management professionals have been challenged with many different projects over the years and have learnt their own unique skills to combat these environments. Here at Adept Network, we work alongside many of these people, designing and supplying networking equipment to ensure you get the best results every single time.
If you would like to speak to us about the unique requirements of your small office or business premises, please do get in contact today. We are always here to assist and ensure you are able to stay connected for longer.