Wireless Router Configuration Guide for Small Networks
Modern wireless routers can do more now than ever for SMB network management. Better yet, wireless router configuration is relatively straightforward if you understand a few networking basics, thanks to guided user interfaces found in current generation models. Here we will examine several different wireless router configurations that prove useful in a small business network setup.
Router configuration: Setting up guest Wi-Fi
Providing guest Wi-Fi is common practice for retail locations like cafes and restaurants, as well as business settings where clients come to visit, like an office for medical, dental, or law practice.
Most routers on the market feature multiple SSIDs (Service Set Identifier) which enables them to offer guests access to a wireless Internet connection that is set apart from the internal network of servers, PCs, printers, and other networked devices. Setting this up usually involves toggling on guest access in the router’s software.
Router software allows a fair amount of control over access to the guest Wi-Fi, allowing password protection and timed limitations for Wi-Fi use. Many manufactures offer mobile management apps that facilitate network administration from a smartphone or tablet.
Many wireless routers support multiple frequencies—2.4 GHz and 5 GHz for example—and it is usually best to reserve the faster 5 GHz channel for your internal Wi-Fi. This may vary depending on how you would like visitors to use the Wi-Fi.
- D-Link guest Wi-Fi setup
- Linksys guest Wi-Fi setup
- Asus guest network setup
- TP Link guest network setup
- NETGEAR guest network setup
Router configuration: Blocking NSFW sites and productivity killers
Blocking inappropriate websites for the workplace is a HR and management decision. Obvious choices include adult and gambling sites, and sites known to contain malware, like torrent and bootleg streaming sites.
Need a list of suggested sites to block? Here are two good free resources.
Whichever sites your company decides to block, this all can be done in the Parental Controls. Many vendors offer granular parental controls that block websites on a user-by-user basis.
- Linksys support – parental controls
- D-Link support – parental controls
- ASUS support – parental controls
- TP Link support – parental controls
- NETGEAR support – parental controls
Router configuration: Enabling networked file sharing
Most routers can connect to a file server or NAS via USB 2.0, 3.0, or SATA connections; this varies by model, so make sure to check the spec sheet for the router to make sure it matches whatever you plan on using as a file server. Almost any storage device can act as a file server—thumb drives, external disk drives, a PC or laptop—if it connects via USB, you plug it in to the router and make the data accessible across the network.
Set-up and configuration varies by vendor, but it is done in the router software like everything else.
- Linksys support – network storage system
- TP Link support – network storage system
- NETGEAR support – network storage system
Router configuration: Plug a printer into the router and print from anywhere
Printers with a USB port can be plugged into a router. This facilitates printing from a phone or tablet when connected to a company’s Wi-Fi network. Enabling this setting is done within the router GUI. It may require the installation of drivers or apps on devices that utilize the printer. Not all routers support printer sharing. Also, some printers are designed specific to plug into your router’s Ethernet port or wirelessly instead of the USB port.
Other resources for small office network management
- Set up a VPN (virtual private network) for secure access to your company’s networked data
- Create a Wi-Fi heat map to chart out placement of wireless access points.
- Learn about how to boost Wi-Fi signal
- Conduct a network speed test using free tools.
Do you run a small office network? Which wireless router configuration (or configurations) are you utilizing?