Q: We have a computer network here and it seems to run OK. But I bet there is some work that goes on behind the scenes to keep it going. What kind of things do you do as normal network maintenance?
A: You are right. Computer networks do run pretty well with only minimal maintenance. The times they fail is usually due to a computer or server on the network having problems, not the network infrastructure.
Q: Wait a minute…Network infrastructure?
A: Yep…the stuff you don’t see that we deal with every day. The network infrastructure includes ethernet cabling, network modems, routers, switches, WiFi equipment. These things get put in place and just run.
Q: So what kind of maintenance do you do to optimize their performance?
A: Well let’s start with the ethernet cabling. It’s one of the first things that is put in place and there have been several upgrades over the years to improve network performance. Cat 3 cable was only good for 10 MB speeds. Cat 5e and now Cat6 is what is required for Gigabit or 1000 MB speeds which current computers can run at. As a matter of fact we have replaced the cabling in this building with Cat6 cable.
Q: What else?
A: The cables connect to devices that allow the signals to be distributed to multiple computers. The devices currently used are Gigabit switches. When we were re-doing the cabling here we found and replaced a number of old 10 MB network hubs which really can slow a network down. These were located under desks and had been put in long ago and just continued to work. We replaced them so workstation computers could run as fast as they were designed to.
There are also network modems and routers which need to be replaced periodically with units that meet current performance standards.
Q: The things you have talked about so far seem to deal with wired networks. WiFi is the way a lot of networks are now operating. What kinds of maintenance do you do on WiFi equipment?
A: WiFi standards and equipment have also improved over the years. And many times we find people have put in WiFi routers rather than access points to bring WiFi to different areas. We review the WiFi equipment and install the right kinds of current equipment at points to give best coverage.
Q: And where can a person find Charlie Brown and PC Applications to help with their network maintenance and updates?
A: They can call us at 507-533-6510 or they can contact us from our web site www.pcapp.com.