Five ways to bulk up your network for telecommuters

Tips for adapting your corporate network for people working from home
  • (Network World)
  • — 23 October, 2008 08:41

But if WAN acceleration and PC optimization still don't get your connection where it needs to be, then you may want to consider upgrading your teleworkers' connection speeds.

Bozich notes that "5Mbps to 7Mbps services are available to most folks. If you can get that level of service, then that's enough bandwidth to do pretty much anything, including voice and low-resolution video solutions."

Of course, this becomes trickier in rural areas where dial-up services are the only landline options available. In these cases, says small business consultant James Gaskin, companies should consider investing in satellite connections to broadband global-area network for "portable broadband" access to remote locations.

Be sure to have a wireless backup option

Although wireline services are the most reliable and safe way to connect teleworkers to corporate WANs, even the best wireline networks go down from time to time. Thus, it's important for all employees working either at home or on the road to have access to a reliable wireless option that will safely give them access to corporate data. While in the past this has meant hooking on to unreliable and unsecure Wi-Fi networks, the advent of high-speed wireless technologies such as WiMAX, HSPA and EV-DO gives teleworkers the option of connecting to networks that offer good data speeds over a wide area.

Brown says that when she's working at the office, for instance, she has the EV-DO card on her laptop in place as a backup so that she can connect to Verizon's 3G network in case her wireline service goes down. While relying upon 3G cellular networks for data services can be more expensive than traditional wireline services, they provide reliable and secure backup connections, Brown says.

Bozich also fires up the EV-DO wireless card on his laptop when he's on the road and doesn't have access to Wi-Fi, and he thinks that WiMAX will also play a bigger role in keeping teleworkers connected to corporate WANs in the coming years.

"WiMAX should ultimately become an extension of Wi-Fi once it becomes more widely deployed," he says. "I don't see it as an either-or proposition. I think they can work in concert together."

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Brad Reed

Network World
Topics: Network management, telecommuting, data protection, broadband
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