The local area network (LAN) is generally a neglected part of any business’s IT infrastructure, which is bizarre when you consider its importance.
Every time we send a document to a shared printer, we are using the LAN. This is a very simplistic viewpoint but the one most people can usually relate to! The fact is our LAN connects us to our central servers, where most of our documents are stored, our email servers, our internet connections, our CRMs, our telephone systems, and so on.
Without the cabling, switches and Wi-Fi access points that make up your LAN, all your employees would need their own separate printers, would store all their documents on their individual PCs, would not be able to transfer calls, would not be protected by corporate firewalls, etc. There would be a lot of cabling and very little sharing! It simply isn’t conceivable or sustainable in the modern business world where collaboration and productivity are key.
Your LAN is critical.
To return to the IT world though, the LAN is the on-site infrastructure all businesses rely on to efficiently go about their everyday tasks. Much of this efficiency comes from the speed a LAN provides. In our industry, you hear people reverently refer to “LAN speeds” because a LAN supports superior data transfer rates compared with wide area networks between sites or internet connections.
IT experts recommend that a LAN should be upgraded every three to five years to maintain the efficiency and speeds we have all grown accustomed to but to also ensure security measures are being met too. With more businesses allowing employees to use their own devices in the workplace, effective security measures are needed to protect all the hardware and applications that run on the LAN.
So how many businesses actually comply with the three to five year upgrade recommendation?
The daily conversations I have with IT and network managers reveal that the LAN is not given a huge amount of consideration unless there is a relocation or expansion project in the offing. This cannot be a sensible attitude. One day without access to centrally-held documents or email would send most businesses into disarray, so why risk it?
I would urge businesses to consider the age of their cabling, switches and access points. If you have any concerns, get it touch with me and I can put you in contact with someone who can give you guidance as to the options available to you.