The responsibilities of Network Administrators vary depending on the size of the business as well as the infrastructure. Generally a network administrator requires two to four years of training as well as on the job experience. They main basic tasks while working are:
- Network installation/setup
- Security and stability monitoring
- Periodic updating and testing
- Expanding the network
Breaking this points down can help give you a better idea of what a Network Administrator does.
Network Installation and Setup:
One of the first steps is know what the needs of your network will be. You don’t want to waste unnecessary resources or create a network too large. Even worse, you don’t want to end up with a network that is too small. Find out how many users will be on the network and what software they will use and what type of work they are doing. If the business has other networks you will probably want to follow the same network design with updates and improvements. Avoid making unnecessary changes or doing things completely different. This will solve headaches in the future.
While doing this always think in the company’s best interest. Try to minimize costs while maximizing efficiency, stability, and speed of the network. Do things right the first time so that you don’t need to come back later and re-do what you have already done.
After finishing the design, you will begin work on building the network. You will manage everything from ordering components to the wiring. Use industry standards in wiring and other components to ensure compatibility with network devices.
Security and Stability Monitoring
After setting up the network the first priority should be installing and updating any security software. Configure the firewall and ensure that the network is stable. Check connection speed and check that all connected devices are running correctly.
Periodic Updating and Testing
Ensure that you update the critical updates ASAP. Check for security updates weekly or if possible enable automatic updates. Try to test updates on a small scale before installing on the entire network. Unfortunately every once in a while an update will cause random issues and need a patch before the errors cease. Keep up to date on the websites of the hardware manufacturers to ensure that you are doing the best you can for your network.
Expanding the Network
As new employees are hired and as new computers and technology is bought, you will have the responsibility of installing and managing the network to accommodate for these types of things. Depending on how long it has been since you have applied what you learned while in training, you might need a quick refresher on how to install and expand your network. Read the manuals and search online for others and their experiences with installing the new network hardware. I’ve personally found that when you are expanding you network is to ensure that you are taking your time and doing things right the first time. Just like while designing the network, it is important to follow the design of the current and other networks in the company. If you are working with other network administrators you can ask for ideas or suggestions that they might have.