In today’s business world working by yourself, working alone, working as a sole trader or working remotely/alone for a big corporate body is usually compared to the traditional &/or open space offices of the 1980s. Since we are getting more solo workers and encounter some problems that did not exist in the past.
I am a sole trade architect and designer and working in my home office and sometimes co-working desk. So, though these new working habits are accepted by everyone even by the elderly, there are still areas that we need to improve and adjust to this culture. One is the internet, computer and electronic needs Network/Broadband for these solo-workers and micro-enterprises.
SOHO is the acronym of Small Offices/Home Offices- which was used widely in the 90s, however, it is being used at the present. So, I will share the knowledge for SOHO networking and answer some questions/challenges you may probably have while deciding the which network-LAN/HOME in your SOHO.
What is SOHO
SOHO is the abbreviation for small office/home office, especially one in someone’s home, as described in Cambridge Dictionary.
Though the Longman dictionary expand the meaning of SOHO as “a room in someone’s house with
electronic equipment such as a computer and fax machine, that is used as a place which to work,” the Cambridge Dictionary points more sophisticated business meaning as ‘the sale of computer equipment and software to this type of office.’
Soho is ‘a single location firm’ and sometimes ‘virtual offices’ are used as the same concept of SOHO. The term is basically entered the business terminology after the 1980s with the improvements in technology and get popular after the 1990s with the discovery of the internet.
Today we have other popular descriptions such as teleworkers, nomad worker, remote workers for global employers.
What are the characteristics of SOHO
Whatever the name it gets, the basic characteristics of SOHO is that it is small in both the size of the office space and the number of employees.
SOHO is the smallest of the small businesses which is privately owned and operated by self-employed people and sometimes by a small group people up to 1-5 people.
Though some say business having an employee less than 10 people are a small business, in reality, people less than 5 is the SOHO- even I read a definition as micro-business/enterprise.
The European Commission defined the micro and SME businesses as;
- “Micro-enterprise: fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover (the amount of money taken in a particular period) or balance sheet (a statement of a company’s assets and liabilities) below €2 million.
- Small enterprise: fewer than 50 employees and an annual turnover or balance sheet below €10 million.
- Medium-sized enterprise: fewer than 250 employees and annual turnover below €50 million or balance sheet below €43 million.”
- The other determinant is that SOHO is best for businesses such as lawyers, designers, architects, accountants/bookkeepers, it start-ups that are not in need of a large office to meet their clients regularly. Some state/government laws strictly do not permit at home such as car traders, private music/dance schools, medical-related works like dentistry, veterinary, pharmacy, funeral chapels etc.
What is a SOHO Network and Do you need one?
Small/micro businesses- especially self-employers do not need large networks. SOHO Network support SOHO/ Small businesses and SOHO routers cut costs even further.
But do you still need a SOHO Network or the Home Network is enough for you- otherwise the cheapest SOHO Network becomes expensive for your business? Ideally, if you are working as a one-man-band- a sole trader- you can manage all your wok by Home Network- unless your home is not a busy family that everybody looks for a having high-speed internet or tech-savvy business in need of advanced technical software configurations SOHO network could work better.
If you have a business in need of more technology, software- like the entrepreneurs or architects, you’ll need a more advanced network like the ones in big offices. Soho network will cover your needs without spending a fortune. Many devices could connect to the network.
It is better to connect with less than 10 computers. Internet access is usually provided by cable, DSL or ISDN.
Its initial costs are affordable and you don’t need to be an IT expert to set up. Windows 10 It has the benefits of ease of installation and simple deployment. However, there are still security issues you have to be very careful.
SOHO network still based on Ethernet connection network; however, you can use/connect the computer to the network by wireless- which is called a mixed way.
- Local Area Network (LAN- When computers connect on the same network.
Soho Router: A hardware device that routes data from a local area network (LAN) to another network connection.
An access point is a device, such as a wireless router, that allows wireless devices to connect to a network. Most access points have built-in routers, while others must be connected to a router in order to provide network access. In either case, access points are typically hardwired to other devices, such as network switches or broadband modems.
- Examples of Ethernet SOHO routers are ‘Ubiquite EdgeRouter, the Asus BRT-AC828 (8 ports), and the Netgear Orbi Pro (4 port) which are the same functions as home broadband routers’ 
The last model manages Firewall protection, Encryption for VPN, with Easy setup Low operational costs.
- Ethernet: Connecting to the Internet at your home also requires either a cable modem or a DSL modem, depending on which ISP you use.
- Cables: wired connection is usually managed by using a network cable (Cat 5or Cat 6network cable). A wireless connection (Wi-Fi) uses an 802.11b, 802.11g or 802.11n wireless network card.
In both connections, you need the Soho router as explained in number 2- to connect to other computers.
Home Network (Wireless)
Mostly wireless network.
Conclusion: Future of SOHO Network
In my opinion, the SOHO network will go on rising- not just because of the technological developments like IoT and data storage but more importantly the security reasons. Technological developments make people more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Therefore, resilient of small business for these security attacks- which usually they could barely stand for them. Statistics from 2000 (compare them with present ones):
Technology: The Driver Of The Home Office
Think technology hasn’t driven the transition to the home office? Consider these statistics, courtesy of PC Data:
- Some 39 per cent of U.S. households own at least one personal computer, and 16.2 per cent have more than one.
- 52.8 per cent of home PC households are connected to the Internet.
- 56.6 per cent of households own a mobile phone.
- 6.6 per cent of households use a personal digital assistant (PDA).
Just small and home office spending in the tech sector alone speaks volumes to how reliant we are-and will continue to be-on technology. In 1998, the small and home office segment spent $51.1 billion on technology; by 2002, the number should grow to $71.2 billion, according to International Data Corp (IDC).
It is interesting that before the industrial revolution almost all offices were small offices and/or home offices. Now we have the IT revolution, and we may again go back to the past in terms of business working.