There’s a common conception that what’s new is better. After all, new things look sharper, have the latest features, and run more smoothly. In the world of tech, that’s even truer, since innovation moves so fast.
If a network is new, it’s improved. Right?
Yes and no. Technology definitely moves fast, and new, cutting-edge networks can have incredible capabilities. But new technology implemented poorly can be a disaster – and can even set you back behind your old network.
At Medlin, we’ve seen firsthand how new networks can be dragged down by poor implementation. It’s unfortunate, and it’s why we’re so dedicated to doing the job right the first time.
Because you deserve a new network that lives up to its potential.
To that end, here are the most common mistakes made during network set up, broken down into stages.
New networks shouldn’t be unreliable. If they’re new, they should be improved. Avoiding these mistakes can make that a reality.
1. Mistakes Made Pre-Network
Believe it or not, this may be the most important phase in implementing a new network: the pre-network planning phase. It’s easy to feel the pressure to start installing and setting up right away, but it’s essential to gather information first.
Doing so will ensure there’s a solid foundation for the network to be built upon and prevent miscalculations from cascading down as implementation happens.
Mistakes made in this phase include:
Failing to pursue proper information gathering
The first step in any new network setup is to gather information. How many workstations will be needed? What configuration was in place previously? Neglecting to do this often means that the new network will fail to meet expectations in some way.
Failing to properly plan
Once information has been gathered, a plan must be developed that takes the context into account. What solutions will best meet needs? On what days will installation happen?
And disaster plans are important, too. What happens should there be a natural disaster in your area? Are you positioned to work remotely and continue business activities?
Important data needs to be backed up daily. This can be done via a combination of on premise network storage devices and cloud backups. Cloud servers can provide the ability to quickly gain access to mission critical data and service your customers. Proprietary software applications need to be accessed for billing, service tickets, financial transactions, etc.
Have you planned for optimal connectivity? Network connectivity includes a mixture of ethernet cabling and wireless access points.
Designing a corporate and guest wireless network can provide additional security for your mission critical data while providing ease of use for visitors needing to access the web. But it’s all dependent on a proper plan.
For companies large and small, success depends upon planning.
Incorrect or inefficient design occurs
Sometimes, the designs based on the plan are simply inefficient or incorrect. This may be due to a lack of expertise on the part of the installer, or a lack of proper information.
Oversimplification occurs when a network is designed with a limited set of needs in mind. If the new network isn’t built to accommodate likely business shifts, it’s design has likely been over-simplified.
We recommend incorporating a 20% growth factor annually, based on standard industry expectations. Keep this in mind for hardware and software needs.
Additionally, oversimplification could mean failing to account for needed redundancy.
It’s important to design your network with back up devices for mission critical hardware that can be deployed quickly. Dual servers can be configured with redundant capabilities to keep your staff productive, and a secondary internet connection will minimize downtime. With an added SD WAN device, you can maximize the bandwidth from both carriers.
Over-complication occurs when too many future features that aren’t needed now are built in. This can make things more complex than needed for users, and cause problems in functionality.
The balance is in accommodating present needs with likely future needs.
2.Mistakes Made Implementing the New Network
The second phase of a new network is the implementation. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Mistakes made during this phase include:
Not planning what to do first, second, etc.
By now, you can probably see a common theme: planning is important. During the actual implementation, it’s best to strategically plan out implementation steps so that work can take place in a way where dependent components function correctly.
Not scheduling with the client
Depending on which components are being updated, scheduling should include the client so that systems don’t disrupt their operations. For instance, if most people work from home on Friday, that may be the day to make the switch.
Not doing a step-by-step installation
Having a step-by-step process can alleviate issues that may occur during installation. If installation is taken in a careful step-by-step manner, errors can be identified immediately by following issues back to the most recent bread crumb. If things are installed without a clear order and an error occurs, it’s much more difficult to find the cause.
Not testing, testing, and re-testing
Just because an error does not occur immediately does not mean it won’t happen later. With a new network installed, it’s time to test, test and retest – immediately following implementation and in the days, weeks, and months after.
3. Mistakes Made Monitoring the New Network
There’s a common misconception that network installation is a once-and-done event. Set it up and it’s good to go! The truth is, for networks to continue functioning reliably, monitoring is needed.
Mistakes made during this phase include:
Failing to maintain visibility by scale following the implementation
If a network is implemented and then never monitored, issues will almost surely arise.
Not scanning any changes made to verify they are still functioning
When implementing a new network, it’s particularly important to focus on areas of change to make sure that new functionality is working the way it should. For instance, if VoIP was installed, are new phone lines functioning the way they need to? If anti-virus was added, is it still running a month later?
Not communicating with the client
Too often, networks are set up and then communication dries up. It’s important that there’s an ongoing dialogue with the client to ensure that the functionality that was expected is actually happening.
Neglecting firmware and software updates
There are always updates. Updates are annoying – that’s why we always hit “Try Later Tonight” when they pop up. But they’re also important steps to enhanced functionality and security.
At Medlin, we have our own KISS Method of deploying hardware: Keep It Simple and Secure.
We do this by creating a standard for hardware devices and software, which can simplify firmware and security updates across the enterprise. Replacing defective components is easily accomplished when swapping “like” equipment.
Failing to update can leave networks at risk. Rethink the IT system.
How to Avoid New Network Mistakes
Hopefully, understanding these new network mistakes can help you to avoid them – and can make certain your new network is actually an improved network.
The best way to avoid new network mistakes? Work with a system integrator who gets the job done right.
At Medlin, that’s what we pride ourselves on. Our process is built to ensure that the systems we install just work.
Don’t settle for a new network that isn’t improved. If you’re looking to avoid new network instability, get in touch with us today.