Implementing a refresh of network equipment requires businesses to plan ahead. If your current hardware is slow, performs poorly, or has repeated breakdowns, then it is definitely time to purchase new products.

However, before you go out and buy a fleet of premium equipment, it is worth taking some time to think about what exactly the network needs to achieve. Failure to do this could mean that in a few years time or less, another upgrade may be required.

In this article, we discuss the main factors you need to consider when upgrading your computer network.

Reliability

It is likely that at least some of the current network issues are a result of outdated hardware or insufficient bandwidth. Older routers can have problems delivering a fast internet connection, even if the supplier’s broadband is lightning fast. Similarly, the router could struggle to handle data-heavy applications such as live chat, video and voice calls.

Slow computers and issues with printer synchronisation are a common frustration for employees and can cause a significant amount of downtime and lost productivity. It is essential to ensure that any new hardware or equipment that is purchased resolves the problems that have led to the
network upgrade in the first place!

Security

Regardless of whether your company has suffered from computer viruses or security breaches, in the modern day environment having a network firewall is crucial for any business. Internet connections allow traffic flow in two directions – inbound and outbound, and a firewall protects the
network from any security threats from inbound traffic.

It is possible to have a software or a hardware firewall, but the majority of businesses should always select a hardware firewall. These operate 24 hours a day, and sit behind the router to identify and block viruses, phishing emails, and unnecessary spam from infiltrating the system.

In addition, a hardware firewall is programmed to be more intelligent than a software firewall, improving the level of protection offered.

Company Growth

Thinking about your company’s future expansion plans is a prime consideration when upgrading the computer network. How many users does your current Local Area Network (LAN) support, and how many do you plan for it to accommodate in the next few years?

By answering these questions you will have a better idea of the number of servers, computer workstations and printers that are required. Internet data usage estimates should also be factored in, to ensure that sufficient bandwidth is supplied.

Budget

Working out how much cash is available for the upgrade will help to identify which purchases are the most critical and which can be gradually phased in over time. This approach keeps costs to an affordable level while also making sure the network remains stable.

Future maintenance could be an issue you want to address. If it is possible, full IT management would be the ideal solution, as it will keep all hardware running to its optimum capabilities. Failing that, it may be sensible to prioritise maintenance contracts on the most important pieces of kit.

At Equipment HQ, we realise that upgrades can be a complicated process that is essential to get right. We offer a Free Network Audit to UK based businesses, and can purchase your redundant network equipment from you.