Ensure devices are wireless
Most laptops today have built-in wireless networking connections. If yours doesn't, you'll need to install a wireless network adapter card, which is typically inexpensive and easy to use.
Choose an internet connection
You should research which providers offer broadband service in your building, as well as their plan options. In some cases, you may have only one provider available. In others, you may have several options. Though T1 lines typically provide better upload speeds, the amount of bandwidth and level of service provided are most important. You can learn more about internet options in your area at broadbandmap.gov.
Purchase bandwidth based on your employees’ job functions and work habits. If they primarily use email and surf the web, they’ll need less bandwidth than they would to send large files or use a web-based service, like Practice Fusion.
To run Practice Fusion you’ll need a minimum 3 mb/s upload and download speed. You can test your current internet connection speed at www.speedtest.net.
Choose a wireless router
Routers let you connect multiple computers to a single wireless network, and connect your network to the internet. You can usually support 20 simultaneous users with a small business-class wireless router.
When choosing a router, look for one that uses 802.11n technology for maximum speed and range, has built-in firewall, and supports at least WPA encryption. In addition, ensure that the router allows enough virtual private network (VPN) connections so that all your employees can access network resources from the road.
Choose a wireless router location
Place the router right next to your internet line so you can connect it directly. The signal generated from each wireless access point or router extends up to approximately 300 feet. Walls, metal, and water can negatively affect range. And the wireless signal strength weakens the longer it has to travel. For best results, space out your access points and position them in central areas.
Testing and expanding your signal
In a typical office, you will likely have a few dead spots. You can test your connectivity by moving to different office locations with your laptop. Keep an eye on the the number of bars in these locations. If you have fewer than three bars in an important location, there are several things you can do to improve signal strength.
You can extend wireless networking throughout your office by placing additional wireless access points in various locations. The additional access points extend the wireless signal's range and strength over a wider geographical area, so that it's available in more places.
Another option is to purchase wireless access points and strategically place them in areas of the office that have weak signal coverage. To connect wireless access points back to the router, you can use a powerline networking kit, which allows you to send data over the office’s electrical system, rather than using ethernet cable.
Boosting your wireless router signal
The farther away from the router you go, the weaker the wireless signal will be. Try moving closer to the router to see if the connection improves.
Keep the router in the most central spot in the office and away from anything that might block its signal such as walls, metal, or water.
The more devices sharing the wireless network, the less bandwidth available for each device to use. For best results, don't share any single wireless access point with more than 20 users.
All devices with an antenna are trying to send data over the air. Cordless phones, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices (i.e. wireless speakers, mouse) and neighboring wireless networks are all competing with the wireless network. You can move wifi devices away from other transmitting devices, or turn them off when not in use.
For routers with antennas mounted on the outside of the casing, try adjusting the orientation of the antennas for maximum performance. For more modern routers with the antennas mounted internally, it is often best to mount the router vertically rather than horizontally.
Some cable modems may create interference with the router, so it is best to place the router at least 3 feet away from the modem.
Encryption & security
Security is vital to wireless networking. Some security methods to consider for your network include:
Data encryption, so only authorized users can access information over your wireless network (128-bit WPA2 with AES encryption is recommended)
User authentication, which identifies computers trying to access the network
Strong passwords of at least seven characters with mixed-case letters, numbers and special characters
Secure access for visitors and guests
Ensure you’re meeting Practice Fusion’s system requirements
Find out what you need to run Practice Fusion in your office. Review requirements for internet connection, hardware and your operating system on our System Requirements page.
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