60 Second Rundown…
- Internet Protocol — the global standard in communications technology
- Local Area Networks — Connected devices within one physical location
- Wide Area Networks — Used for communication and information sharing across the globe.
Connecting your small business to the world starts with your network. Optimal network performance drives productivity and communication. All your critical devices—computers, printers, servers—talk to each other within the local network. The router connects your network to the Internet, where you can communicate with clients. To understand how your business connects, it’s important to start with the basics of IP, LAN and WAN.
Internet Protocol (IP) network is the global standard in communication technology. If you get on the Internet, you have an IP address. Each device has both public and private addresses. The public one is used to communicate outside your network (i.e., the Internet). The private address is for use within the system.
Local Area Networks
All the devices connected in one physical location make up your Local Area Network (LAN). This includes internal servers, work stations, printers, cables, switches, routers, etc. The computers can use a single internet connection, share files with each other, and print to shared printers. Wi-fi has dramatically expanded the types of hardware that can connect to a LAN. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, thermostats, lighting, and door locks can connect wirelessly to the network.
Wide Area Networks
Connections beyond a single physical area are known as a Wide Area Network (WAN). They facilitate communication and information sharing between computers from around the world. The Internet is the largest WAN in the world, with over 22 billion connected devices worldwide. Small businesses can use a WAN to allow employees to work from anywhere, communicate with co-workers, and access shared data. As organizations grow, WANs enable them to communicate between branches and stay connected. The most secure method to create a WAN for a remote use is to use Virtual Private Network (VPN). This creates an encrypted, secure channel between the remote user and the company LAN.
The experts at SMB Support can network support and consultation on how to best incorporate networks into your business. Call us at (908) 895-0273 to learn what support we can offer you.