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WAPs: More than Simple Wireless Network Access

An advanced wireless access point can bolster wireless security and improve network access

Most people have come to expect wireless network access almost everywhere they go, especially when they are at work or elsewhere. After all, if they can check their email on their smartphones from Starbucks, why shouldn’t they be able to do the same in a conference room at the office? Luckily, adding wireless access to your existing network isn’t difficult—but you must make some choices. You can opt for a basic wireless access point (WAP) for wireless network connectivity. Or, you can choose a more advanced small-business wireless router or WAP that adds sophisticated capabilities to your wireless network.

At their most basic, WAPs simply connect wireless devices to your local network through a standard wireless signal such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. A WAP connects to your router, which connects users’ devices (including smartphones, tablets, and laptops) to the network and the Internet. But WAPs can also bolster your network security, provide users with better network access throughout your building, and give you additional installation flexibility.

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Looking to Build the Right Network for Your Business? Read Here for Advice on Purchasing Core Networking Solutions

Has your company outgrown its network? Are you anticipating business growth? Or are you simply looking to upgrade your infrastructure? If so, the following tips can help ensure that you build the right network.

The first step toward building the right network involves forecasting how your business will grow. You should consider whether there will be employee growth and brainstorm what networking infrastructure you will need to meet your company goals.  You should also investigate which technologies are becoming crucial to business (such as cloud computing). By choosing the right solutions the first time, you minimize the decisions that need to be remade in the future. Additionally, you prevent your network from breaking down as more users seek access, reducing support and upgrade costs.

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Got a service plan? Here’s how to get the most out of it

February 3, 2012 at 8:00 am PST

Support contracts provide the ultimate peace of mind and help protect your technology investment

Running a small business without a support contract is like performing a high-wire act without a net. If you don’t have the expertise in-house to restore your failed network pronto, you could fall flat on your face with your customers. That’s why you need to be able to call on a team trained to keep your network running smoothly.

A service plan is much more than warranty. Your service contract goes above and beyond a warranty by entitling you to a variety of expert technical assistance resources and online tools to help you quickly solve problems. Certified engineers can provide advanced configuration and deployment support via telephone or online chat—or both—to get your business up and running quickly. Contracts also include ongoing upgrades so you always have the latest and most reliable software versions available.

Here are four ways to get the most out of your service contract:

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Protect Mobile Devices, Protect Your Network

Reduce the risk of compromised company data by securing users’ smartphones

Once upon a time, a mobile phone was just a phone—you made and received calls on it, and that’s all. It posed zero risk to the security of your network or your business. Now, a mobile phone is so much more than just a phone. It’s a personal assistant, a portable game player, a digital camera, and most importantly, a full-fledged computer—and these smartphones definitely pose a security risk. Just like a laptop, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices can connect to your network, which means they could compromise your company’s data or leave your network vulnerable to attack from a hacker. You wouldn’t leave employees’ laptops unsecured, so why would you take chances with their mobile devices?

For the most part, the same security measures you ascribe to the computers on your network in the office should also be applied to mobile devices that have access to your LAN. Just like desktop PCs and laptops, all mobile devices need software protection to guard against malware and other attacks. Smartphones and tablets should have a firewall as well as antispam and antivirus software installed, such as the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Solution and Norton Smartphone Security offering.

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Ask Cisco: How do I improve collaboration among multiple offices and remote users?

Q: My company has been trying to figure out how we can do better at connecting our remote users to our main site, as well as making our other location seem like it’s right next door. Any advice?

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