Many Practices are implementing wireless networks in the office. They are doing this for both equipment costs savings and for convenience.
What is WLAN?
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN): WLAN is a wireless network that uses radio waves to connect to the Internet, no network cables are needed. They work similarly to cordless phones. The range of a WLAN can be anywhere from a single room to an entire complex.
To use a WLAN, you need to connect a wireless router to the modem that connects to the Internet provider. You also need to enable your PC's via a wireless PC (personal computer) Card. Some cards connect to the PC via USB port on the PC. Some are built into the PC. Some mobile PCs already have the card as a part of their computer. Most desktop PCs require that you purchase this separately.
Benefits of a WLAN
Working wirelessly can offer you the following benefits.
Flexibility: The lack of cables that comes with wireless networking enables you to easily move with your PC. You can also roam with mobile PCs from your office to a nearby examination room for a meeting. For example, if you're working wirelessly you can printout a report for a patient without having to leave the examination room.
Time-saving: If you're waiting for an important response, you can use your mobile PC to monitor your email even when you're in meetings or at lunch. As soon as you receive the data needed, you can promptly forward it rather than wondering whether the information has come in while you were away and having to run back to your office between encounters and other commitments.
Increased productivity: Working wirelessly with a mobile PC enables you to turn down times between interviews or while in transit into productive time. For example, you may be in transit to another office and find out that your first appointment has been cancelled. Rather than waste the next hour, you can check email, wrap up some paperwork or run an errand.
When setting up a WLAN at the office, make sure that the WLAN is a secure WLAN. This means that the router requires that your computer uses a security key when connecting to the WLAN. Also, activate the router's firewall. If you do not do these two things, then all of your practice's files, computers and other resources will be open to all, from the Internet or to whom every walks through your office's door with a portable device, such as a smart phone.
Also when you connect a computer to a WLAN, you are responsible for ensuring the security of your files and your PC. Below are some steps you can take to ensure that your computer is secure.
1. Make sure your firewall is activated
The firewalls on both your wireless router and your PC needs to be activated. A firewall helps protect your PC by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer through the Internet or your network. It acts as a barrier that checks all incoming information and then either blocks the information or allows it to come through.
2. Monitor your access points
Chances are that there are multiple wireless networks anywhere you're trying to connect. These connections are all access points, because they link into the wired system that gives you Internet access. So how do you make sure you're connecting to the right one? Simple-by configuring your PC to let you approve access points before you connect.
3. Disable file and printer sharing
File and printer sharing is a feature that enables other computers on a network to access resources on your computer. When it's enabled, it leaves your computer vulnerable to hackers. If others need access to files on your PC, then think about other methods to give them access.
4. Make your folders private
When the folders on your PC are private, it's more difficult for hackers to access your files.
5. Encrypt your files
You can protect your files further by encrypting them, which requires a password to open or modify them. Because you must perform this procedure on one file at a time, consider password-protecting only the files that you plan to use while working in a public place.
Using a Wi-Fi in a secure way, will help your office to reduce costs and increase productivity.