Best practices for setting up your office network


Setting up an office network requires careful consideration of network equipment, security measures, performance optimization, remote access, and troubleshooting. This article provides best practices for each of these aspects, ensuring a robust and efficient office network setup.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the network needs before selecting the right router and switch.
  • Implement strong password policies, firewall, and network encryption to secure the office network.
  • Manage bandwidth usage, implement QoS, and monitor network traffic to optimize network performance.
  • Configure VPN, enable remote desktop services, and implement two-factor authentication for secure remote access.
  • Identify common network issues, perform regular network audits, and keep network firmware and software updated for effective troubleshooting and maintenance.

Choosing the Right Network Equipment

Understanding Your Network Needs

Completely understand your network and be able to identify risk.

Control: Have full control of your network, and apply policies and rules that are important to you. This will reduce risk by limiting the attack surface. Your network, you make the rules!

Protection: Have a Firewall automatically protect your network based on your rules. Implement a table for presenting structured, quantitative data. Ensure it’s succinct and formatted correctly in Markdown. Use a bulleted or numbered list for less structured content, like steps, qualitative points, or a series of related items. Use a bulleted or numbered list for less structured content, like steps, qualitative points, or a series of related items.

Network Monitoring: Analyze your network traffic on a regular basis to detect unusual activity or potential threats.

Software and Firmware Updates: Consistently update all software and firmware to the latest versions to patch vulnerabilities and enhance security features.

Equipment Updates: Regularly review and upgrade network equipment like routers, switches, and firewalls to ensure they meet current security standards. Continuous

Employee Training: Provide continuous training to employees on best security practices and how to identify potential threats. We hope this three-part article series can help you build a better and more secure network.

Selecting the Right Router

When selecting the right router for your office network, it’s important to consider the placement and frequency settings. The placement of the router plays a crucial role in ensuring optimal coverage and signal strength. For larger spaces, using Wi-Fi extenders or mesh networks may be necessary to provide full coverage across multiple rooms or floors. Additionally, investing in a robust modem and router that support the latest Wi-Fi standards is essential for network strength and speed.

To ensure the best coverage, strategically placing routers in key locations is important. This is especially crucial in spaces with dense walls and ceilings that can obstruct Wi-Fi signals. Consider placing the router on the ceiling to improve coverage, as Wi-Fi signals tend to spread downhill. For larger office buildings, selecting a space without walls and positioning the router on the ceiling can significantly improve coverage.

It’s also important to consider the frequency settings of the router. Depending on the connectivity requirements, choosing between the 2.4 GHz frequency band for increased coverage and the fastest Wi-Fi connection, or the 5 GHz frequency band for higher data speeds, is crucial for optimizing network performance.

Lastly, when setting up the router, it’s important to ensure that the hardware supports the latest Wi-Fi standards and can handle heavy traffic without disruptions. Investing in quality networking equipment, such as a robust modem and router, is essential for ensuring a strong and reliable office network.

Choosing the Best Switch

When choosing the best switch for your office network, it’s important to consider factors such as port count, speed, and managed vs. unmanaged options. Reliability is crucial, so look for switches with a proven track record of uptime and performance. Additionally, consider the future scalability of the switch to accommodate potential growth in network devices. Here’s a quick comparison table to help you evaluate different switch options:

Switch Model Port Count Speed Managed/Unmanaged
Model A 24 1Gbps Managed
Model B 48 10Gbps Unmanaged

Lastly, keep in mind that proper network segmentation can enhance security and performance. Consider segmenting your network into VLANs to isolate traffic and improve network management. Remember, a well-chosen switch can significantly impact the overall performance and security of your office network.

Securing Your Office Network

Implementing Strong Password Policies

Weak passwords and/or reused passwords are one of the biggest security risks, accounting for over 80% of data breaches. Many people underestimate how easy it is for hackers to crack weak passwords. In fact, the most frequently used passwords can be cracked in less than one second. Luckily, weak passwords can be eradicated by taking a number of steps:

  • Create and enforce strong password policies for your organization. Educate employees about the risks of simple passwords and how to create stronger ones. Passwords should be complex enough to combine letters, numbers, and symbols—and they should also be changed regularly.
  • Update your business software to set requirements for password difficulty.
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA). It requires two or more verification factors to access an account, such as a password and a code sent to the user’s email or phone.

Setting Up a Firewall

When setting up a firewall, it’s crucial to consider both hardware and software options. Hardware firewalls provide network-wide protection and can be purchased from computer hardware retailers or online stores. On the other hand, software firewalls are installed on individual devices and can be obtained from software companies or downloaded for free. It’s important to have both types of firewalls to ensure comprehensive network security.

Additionally, implementing strong password policies and enabling network encryption are essential steps to enhance the effectiveness of the firewall. This ensures that unauthorized access is prevented and sensitive data is protected. Remember, your network security is in your hands, so make the rules that matter to you.

To summarize, here’s a comparison of hardware and software firewalls:

Firewall Type Description
Hardware Firewalls Physical devices that protect the entire network. Available for purchase from various retailers.
Software Firewalls Installed on individual devices to provide protection. Offered by software companies or as free downloads.

Enabling Network Encryption

When it comes to securing your network data, encrypting is crucial for protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access. Implementing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essential for maintaining security and privacy. A VPN creates a secure and encrypted connection over the internet, which is especially important when using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. This encrypted tunnel ensures that the data you send and receive is shielded from prying eyes, making it difficult for cybercriminals to steal it. To find the best VPN provider for you, keep an eye out for the following key features:

  • Strong Encryption: Look for a VPN that uses 256-bit encryption, which is the same type used by banks and the U.S. military.
  • No-Log Policy: Choose a VPN provider that has a strict no-log policy, ensuring that your online activities are not recorded or monitored.
  • Multi-Platform Support: Select a VPN that offers support for multiple devices and platforms, allowing you to secure all your network-connected devices.

Optimizing Network Performance

Managing Bandwidth Usage

Managing bandwidth usage is crucial for optimizing network performance. To effectively monitor and control bandwidth usage, consider using the following methods:

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Firewalla’s Smart Queue can help prioritize traffic across the network, while the web interface displays top devices and destinations for upload and download. Additionally, examining open ports on the router’s NAT + Firewall can provide insights into external access.

It’s important to avoid having other people using/sharing your bandwidth during high-bandwidth activities, such as streaming multimedia content, online gaming, or downloading large files. Consider setting a bandwidth limit on all traffic, especially in larger deployments, and utilize features like Speedburst to allow short bursts of high-speed data transfer.

For more detailed insights into bandwidth usage, Firewalla can provide total upload and download data consumption over specific time periods, allowing you to identify unusual activities and potential network bottlenecks. Monitoring bandwidth usage is essential to avoid penalties from ISPs and ensure efficient network performance.

Implementing Quality of Service (QoS)

Quality of Service (QoS) is a combination of network technologies that allows the administrators to optimize the experience of real-time audio/video and application sharing communications. Configuring QoS for Microsoft Teams on the Surface Hub can be done using your mobile device management (MDM) provider or through a provisioning package. To configure QoS for Surface Hub using Microsoft Intune:

  1. In Intune, create a custom policy.
  2. In Custom OMA-URI Settings, select Add.
  3. For each setting that you add, you will enter a name, description (optional), data type, OMA-URI, and value.

To ensure optimal video and audio quality on Surface Hub, add the following QoS settings to the device:

Name Description OMA-URI Type Value
Audio Ports Audio Port range ./Device/Vendor/MSFT/NetworkQoSPolicy/TeamsAudio/SourcePortMatchCondition String 50000-50019
Audio DSCP Audio ports marking ./Device/Vendor/MSFT/NetworkQoSPolicy/TeamsAudio/DSCPAction Integer 46
Video Port Video Port range ./Device/Vendor/MSFT/NetworkQoSPolicy/TeamsVideo/SourcePortMatchCondition String 50020-50039
Video DSCP Video ports marking ./Device/Vendor/MSFT/NetworkQoSPolicy/TeamsVideo/DSCPAction Integer


  • Microsoft Teams Rooms does not support proxy authentication as it may interfere with regular operations of Teams. Ensure that Surface Hub devices or Microsoft 365 service endpoints have been exempted from proxy authentication before going into production with Teams Rooms on Surface Hub.

Quality of Service (QoS) is crucial for optimizing real-time audio/video and application sharing communications. It is recommended to configure QoS for Surface Hub using Microsoft Intune for better management and control of network traffic and performance. Additionally, ensure that Surface Hub devices are exempted from proxy authentication to avoid interference with Microsoft Teams operations.

Monitoring Network Traffic

Monitoring network traffic is crucial for maintaining a secure and efficient office network. By analyzing network traffic, you can gain valuable insights into data consumption, active devices, and potential security threats. One effective way to monitor network traffic is by using Firewalla, which provides detailed metrics on upload and download data consumption over different time periods. This allows you to identify unusual activities, network bottlenecks, and potential security breaches. Additionally, Firewalla’s Smart Queue feature can help prioritize traffic across the network, ensuring optimal performance for critical applications and services.

When monitoring network traffic, it’s important to examine open ports and analyze the flow of data to identify any potential risks. Firewalla’s interface displays top devices and destinations for upload and download, providing visibility into data usage patterns and potential vulnerabilities. By leveraging the data collected from network traffic monitoring, you can make informed decisions to enhance network security and performance.

Furthermore, Firewalla’s network traffic monitoring capabilities extend to identifying blocked flows and analyzing the behavior of connected devices. This data can help answer critical questions such as the location of connected servers, potential security threats, and data collection activities. By leveraging Firewalla’s network traffic monitoring features, you can proactively protect your office network from external threats and ensure the integrity of your data.

Setting Up Remote Access

Configuring VPN for Remote Access

When configuring VPN for remote access, it is important to consider the client VPN feature, which allows users to establish a secure connection to the WAN appliance from their device. The client VPN feature has increased functionality and ease of use when deployed with a policy encompassed with Cisco Meraki Systems Manager installed on the user’s remote device. This allows for a dynamic policy to be remotely pushed to the client device, creating a more simple end customer experience. Additionally, split tunneling must be configured to ensure that traffic from the workspace is routed directly to the internet instead of through the VPN. Ethernet is the preferred connection type, and using a Cat 5E cable or above is recommended. It is also advisable to set the following DNS servers if possible: Primary DNS:, Secondary DNS: For more information about the Client VPN feature, please refer to the following knowledge base documents: Client VPN Overview, Client VPN OS Configuration, Configuring Split Tunnel with Client VPN, Troubleshooting Client VPN, Systems Manager VPN Configurations, and Sentry VPN.

Enabling Remote Desktop Services

Enabling Remote Desktop Services allows users to access their office desktop from a remote location, providing flexibility and convenience. When setting up Remote Desktop Services, it’s important to ensure proper security measures are in place to protect sensitive data. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Use endpoint security systems to protect your data from unauthorized access and advanced malware.
  • Implement proper logging and monitoring for remote sessions to ensure security and accountability.
  • Consider using a wired connection for remote access to ensure a stable and reliable connection.

It’s important to prioritize security and reliability when enabling Remote Desktop Services, especially when accessing sensitive company data from external locations.

Implementing Two-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security to your network by requiring two or more verification factors to access an account. This can include a password and a code sent to the user’s email or phone. Here are some best practices for implementing MFA:

  1. Create and enforce strong password policies for your organization. Educate employees about the risks of simple passwords and how to create stronger ones. Passwords should be complex enough to combine letters, numbers, and symbols—and they should also be changed regularly.
  2. Update your business software to set requirements for password difficulty and use MFA. This helps in reducing the risk of unauthorized access to critical systems.
  3. Regularly monitor network traffic and analyze security logs to detect any unauthorized access attempts or suspicious activities.
  4. Consider implementing a network monitoring system to ensure ongoing security and protection against cybersecurity threats.

In addition to MFA, it’s important to educate employees about the importance of network security and to keep software updated to address security vulnerabilities.

Network Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Identifying Common Network Issues

When troubleshooting common network issues, it’s important to consider the following checklist:

  • Network profile: In the Settings app under
    Network & internet, check whether your PC is using the Public (recommended) network profile. If so, switch to the private network profile.
  • Router setting: In the operating menu of your Wi-Fi router, search for a security setting that could block communication between the devices. On the Fritzbox, the option The active WLAN devices shown below may communicate with each other must be switched on under WLAN > Security.

It’s also crucial to be aware of the alerts and connectivity losses such as devices going on/offline, network events, ISP downtime, and connectivity test results. These alerts help in understanding the home network dynamically. If an alarm is associated with normal operation or a trusted service, it can be ignored or muted. However, unexpected device activity should be investigated or blocked.

Remember, managing alarms is key to identifying potential security threats and connectivity issues.

The web interface allows for filtering alarm searches, especially for security activity such as a heartbeat attack.

Performing Regular Network Audits

Conducting regular network audits is essential for identifying vulnerabilities and potential malware infections. It’s crucial to review user access controls to ensure limited network access and to analyze network traffic for unusual activity or potential threats. Consistently updating software, firmware, and network equipment is vital to patch vulnerabilities and enhance security features. Continuous employee training on new security threats and best practices is also important. Implementing these practices will help maintain a secure and efficient office network.

Updating Network Firmware and Software

You must ensure that your office infrastructure is current if you want greater digital connectivity in the office space. The best method to accomplish that is to examine your network to see whether firmware updates are required.

Simply defined, firmware is the software that controls your router. It’s crucial for maintaining the performance of your accessories. Updates released by manufacturers aim to increase functionality. It’s crucial to keep an eye out for these updates to enhance connectivity and security.

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  • Use a bulleted or numbered list for less structured content, like steps, qualitative points, or a series of related items.

By doing so, you may enhance the functionality of your digital network and address any problems that could lead to connection drops.

For information on the most recent firmware changes, consult the manufacturer’s website. However, some routers include a built-in mechanism that downloads updates automatically.

It is crucial to make sure that every access point has been updated. Keep your network secured by investing in cybersecurity to maintain digital connectivity.

When it comes to network troubleshooting and maintenance, it’s crucial to have reliable support and services. At Contact, we understand the importance of keeping your network running smoothly. Our team is dedicated to providing managed IT support that meets your specific needs. Whether you’re facing connectivity issues, security concerns, or performance challenges, we’ve got you covered. With our expertise and proactive approach, we ensure that your network remains secure and efficient. If you’re ready to take the next step in optimizing your network, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your business.


In conclusion, setting up an efficient office network requires careful planning and implementation of best practices. From laying down network protocols to strategically placing routers, each step plays a crucial role in ensuring seamless digital connectivity. It is important to update firmware, secure the network, and consider adding more hardware to meet the growing demands of a expanding business. By following these best practices, businesses can enhance their office network infrastructure and improve productivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the right router for my office network?

When choosing a router for your office network, consider the number of users, the size of your office space, and the bandwidth requirements. Look for a router that offers strong security features and supports the latest Wi-Fi standards.

Why is network encryption important for office networks?

Network encryption is important for protecting sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access. It ensures that data transmitted over the network is secure and cannot be intercepted by unauthorized parties.

What is the best way to optimize network performance?

To optimize network performance, manage bandwidth usage, implement Quality of Service (QoS) to prioritize network traffic, and monitor network traffic for any congestion or bottlenecks.

How can I set up remote access for my office network?

You can set up remote access by configuring a VPN for secure connections, enabling Remote Desktop Services for remote control of computers, and implementing Two-Factor Authentication for added security.

What are the common network issues that may arise in an office network?

Common network issues include slow connection speeds, dropped connections, network congestion, and security vulnerabilities. Performing regular network audits can help identify and address these issues.

Why is it important to update network firmware and software regularly?

Updating network firmware and software is important to patch security vulnerabilities, improve network performance, and add new features. It helps ensure that the network is running on the latest and most secure software.

How can I improve digital connectivity in my office space?

You can improve digital connectivity by conducting a site survey to identify coverage and connectivity issues, strategically placing routers and access points, and implementing network protocols to manage data usage.

What are the risks associated with remote work setups and how can they be mitigated?

Risks associated with remote work setups include insecure Wi-Fi usage, data security vulnerabilities, and lack of clear security policies. These risks can be mitigated by implementing secure VPN usage, providing clear guidelines for remote work security, and enforcing strong password policies.