As a small business owner, you likely need to connect your computers to the Internet. One way to do so is to set up a local area network (LAN). With a LAN, you can provide Internet service to computers located in a relatively small area, such as an office building.
LANs can be wired or wireless. Wired LANs usually use Ethernet cables. Wireless LANs (WLANs) rely on wireless technology instead of cables.
WLANs have become so prevalent in Western society that most people instinctively understand their benefits. However, wired LANs have advantages as well.
Wired LANs offer much faster web connection speeds than their wireless counterparts. They are also more reliable since you do not have to deal with issues like weak signal strength.
Improved security is another advantage of a wired LAN. To break into one, hackers need to connect to a network switch, router, or computer before they can attempt to access the network. To access a WLAN, a hacker only has to intercept a wireless transmission and break its encryption.
WLANs win when it comes to convenience. They are much easier to set up than wired LANs since they do not use any cables. They also offer a lot more flexibility. You can put your desktop computers and printers anywhere within range of the wireless signal. Perhaps most important, employees can connect to the WLAN with their mobile devices.
WLANs have a few drawbacks, though. These networks are slower and less secure than their wired counterparts.
Internet at the Office
To balance out the issues associated with wireless and wired LANs, small businesses sometimes opt for both types of networks. This gives them the speed and reliability of a wired LAN for their desktop computers and the convenience of a WLAN for their mobile devices. Talk with your IT provider to determine the best configuration that gives you the convenience you want and the security you need.